- Are you saved?
- Are you going to heaven?
- How do you know if you are saved or not?
- What does it mean to be saved?
- Who determines if you are saved or unsaved?
- How do you become saved?
- Can you become unsaved?
TRUE SALVATION by Joel Blake Sawyer
This booklet has purposely been written with little commentary, opinion, or human agenda. (You will not be reading the words, “In my opinion”, “I think”, or “It seems to me”.) This booklet does ask and answer some serious questions. It also contains some analogies. Most importantly, over half of the words of this book are those of the Scriptures.
There are two requests in the reading of this letter:
1 First, that you pray before each and every time that you pick it up. Ask the Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus to speak to you through the words in this booklet. Ask God to reveal to you personally, any beliefs or thoughts that you currently hold, that are not true. Ask the Lord to use this booklet in any way He wants to change your life so that you may be His servant to do His will.
2 Second, each time a Scripture is quoted, stop and reread the Scripture slowly a second time. When a word or group of words is in bold, emphasize those words. If a word is underlined, thoughtfully accentuate the importance of the word within the surrounding words. Think about the meaning of the Scripture. Ask yourself, what is God trying to speak to me in this Scripture? Let the Words of God bathe you. Let them transform you.
Can you believe in Jesus and not be saved?
Or, just because you believe in Jesus, does that mean you are saved?
Scripture is clear that there are people who “believe” in Jesus (as the Messiah, as Savior, even as Lord), but because they do not OBEY His commandments or they do not endure, they will NOT be saved.
Now this may sound strange, legalistic or even heretical to many “Christians”. However, God is not silent on the matter. In fact, He has made it extremely clear through the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament writers, and the very words of Jesus, that salvation is given only to those who: first, place their trust in Jesus as Lord AND Savior; secondly, repent of their sins and willfully obey God’s commandments; and thirdly, endure to the end of their very lives without falling away.
What is your goal in life? To be successful? Live long enough to see your grandchildren grow up?“But seek first the kingdom of the God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Should not our ultimate goal in this life be to seek eternal life, to end up in heaven with Jesus for ever?
If salvation (spending eternity with God) is our goal in life, then knowing the truth about what God requires for salvation MUST be our ultimate and most important fact-finding mission, shouldn’t it?
We MUST get this one right, or our very eternal lives, and also of those we witness to, are in eternal jeopardy.
Wouldn’t being deceived about what God, the One Who offers eternal life, says about salvation, be like playing a game of spiritual Russian Roulette?
According to a plethora of churches, denominations, “Bible” teachers, and self-appointed prophets – salvation can be yours for:
1) Simply saying the four magic words, “I believe in Jesus.”
2) Attending their church.
3) Being baptized by an official ‘member’ of their church. (All others ‘go to hell’.)
4) Having your loved ones pay ‘priests’ money to ‘perform’ ‘ceremonies’ to get you “to heaven”.
5) Being a good person.
6) Obtaining the “Christ consciousness”.
7) Following whatever they tell you to do. (Though it may change daily.)
The list could go on and on.
Paul, writing to Timothy about the apostasy of the last days, does an excellent job of explaining this condition:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
(Remember, read all Scriptures twice, slowly, and think about what God is saying.)
Does this not describe the condition of the “church” today? Instead of wanting to know the truth about what God says about eternal life, don’t many people run to the ‘church’ that teaches what they want to hear, not what God actual says? When it comes to obtaining eternal life, doesn’t it make sense that most people want to make it ‘easy’ or at least ‘easier’ than it actually is?
Imagine two football teams going out onto the field of play, with both coaches “playing the game by their own rules”. One coach thinks it is ok to have 13 players (not 11) on the field. One coach says there is no need to go ten yards for a first down, their team only has to go five yards. One team believes that field goals count as 4 points, not 3. Do you get the picture?
The picture here is utter chaos. Football no longer is “football”. It has become something utterly unrecognizable. All statistics have to be thrown out the window, because there are no set rules, no standard to judge any merits, “wins”, rushing yardage, defensive points allowed, or any other of hundreds of statistics and ways we look at the game of football.
Can’t the same be said of modern day “Christianity”? Aren’t the “players” (Christians) going through the game of life with little knowledge of (or at least deceived about) the “rules” that God specifically gave us to live by, including the way to eternal life?
Isn’t it sad that we do have a rule book, the Bible (I prefer to call them the Scriptures), that is not being used (properly)? Don’t most people who claim to be “Christian”, or followers of Jesus, have very little knowledge about what the Author and Finisher of our faith actually says, and commands, us to do?
Isn’t it obvious, that we must understand what the Lord has to say in regards to eternal life? Isn’t the Word of the Living God the only place where we can find the answers, the insights, and the direction that leads us to eternal life?
We will study dozens of these enlightening Scriptures, to get a clear picture of what God wants us to know about true salvation and true faith.
Scripture after Scripture will teach us that Jesus taught you MUST be obedient to the Word of God in order to be saved, to be His disciple, and to be part of the family of God.
“And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You.’ But He said, ‘More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’”
Is Jesus saying that those who hear the Word and do NOT do it are NOT His?
1 The eighth chapter of the book of John tells a compelling story of Jews who come to believe in Jesus, yet quickly fall away from the faith.
2 In John 8:24, Jesus told a group of Jews that “if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins”.
3 In verses 30 and 31 John tells us that, “As he spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’” The Greek word for abide is meno, which means to endure, continue, and remain.
It is important to note that Jesus spoke directly to those who believed in Him. (READ IT AGAIN.) Jesus said to them that “believing” alone is not enough to be His disciple. They MUST abide in His Word in order to be a true disciple.
As Jesus taught them the truth, which was convicting the error of their ways, even though they were “believers”, they fought with Jesus over some of His statements. Being “Abraham’s descendants” was their foot in the door to the Kingdom of God, or so they thought. They quickly turned against hearing what Jesus had to say and clung to their “we are Abraham’s descendants” and “we have one Father – God” line of argument.
(Compare this with modern day preachers’ line of arguments of what one must do to be saved, and the similarities are astonishing, aren’t they?)
Jesus kept the conversation on target, that they must keep His word in order to be true children of God. Right after Jesus said to them that “if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death” (verse 51), they promptly told Jesus that He had a demon (verse 52).
When reading John 8 in totality, we get a clear picture that many Jews came to the point that they believed in Jesus as the Messiah. However, as soon as He taught them the need for obedience to Him; which, by the way, was the very proof He offered them that He was sent from the Father, that He Himself was obedient to God the Father; they turned against Him.
Likewise, as we read in John 6, many of the disciples of Jesus that followed Him, rejected Him simply because they refused to receive what He had to say. They refused to obey Him. Verse 60 says, “Therefore, many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’” Jesus explained to His disciples that “My words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (Verse 63).
However, in verse 66 we learn, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”
These were not John the Baptist’s disciples, or disciples of the Pharisees, or disciples of Herod. These were disciples of Jesus. They were followers of Jesus. Moreover, it was not just a few of His disciples, it was many. Just how many, we do not know. However, it is clear from John 6, John 8, and other Scriptures, that time and time again, Jesus said things that offended His followers and caused them to ‘no longer follow Him’.
“keep my commandments.”
Listen to the very words of Jesus:
In giving Moses the Ten Commandments, the Lord God Jehovah said:
Yes, in God’s sovereignty, He even continues the punishment of those who hate Him to that person’s children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
Note: Jesus says that keeping His commandments is His definition of abiding in His love.
Read that again! Jesus says that keeping His commandments is His definition of abiding in His love.
It is one thing to say (with your mouth), “I love Jesus”. It is an entirely different thing to actually love Jesus by keeping His commandments. It is obvious from Scripture that many people say they love Jesus, but in all reality, by their actions they show that they do not love Him.
Jesus praying to the Father, asked God to,
Sanctify means ‘to set apart’, and in this case, to set apart specifically for His service.
The majority of “Christianity” does NOT worship God in Spirit and in truth. They worship Him with words.
Do you see that Jesus says there are those who WORSHIP Him – but in VAIN?
Do you worship Jesus in Spirit and Truth?
In 2 Timothy 2:15-26 and 3:1-17 there are “believers” like Hymenaeus and Philetus who have strayed concerning the truth, and they “overthrow the faith of some believers”. In the last days it will be perilous because men will have a form of godliness, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth, resisters of the truth.The truth is we MUST obey Him.
Read it again, slowly, thinking about what Jesus is saying.
It is clear through the very words of Jesus that obedience to His commandments are necessary. True believers obey Him. That is how Jesus defines whether we love Him or not. If we disobey Him, we hate Him. (John 14:24a, Deuteronomy 5:9-10)
In Matthew 7:21, just quoted, Jesus says that “he who does the will of My Father in heaven shall enter the Kingdom of God.”
What is the Father’s will for us?
Answer: Obey His commandments!
Blessings And Curses
The entire chapter of Deuteronomy 28 is an excellent place to get key insights to what God says is His will for us, and the consequences of obeying or disobeying His will are explicitly laid out.
In Deuteronomy 28:1, God promises a multitude of blessings “if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today…”
The blessings listed by God for obedience to His commandments are what any sane person could ever want or hope for. Perfect health, prosperity in nearly everything you do, strength and power, and even having your enemies supernaturally flee from your presence!
In Deuteronomy 28:15 God promises a multitude of cursings “if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:”
The cursings include being cursed in the city or country, losing all your possessions, including your family, having disease after disease ravage your body, working exceedingly hard and receiving nothing from it, and even more cursings almost too horrible to comprehend.
It gets worse, but surely, you get the picture. Why do “all these curses come upon you”?
“…because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you.” Deuteronomy 28:45
God not only places these cursings upon you, but your children as well.
For those who would love to believe that God changes His mind, says things and not mean them, or promises things and does not do them, listen to the words of the Most High God.
God has demanded obedience from the beginning of time, from Adam and Eve until now. Jesus, God in human flesh, made obedience to His commandments a central theme of His teaching ministry, as we just have read numerous statements He made in this regard.
We will repeat just two of them here, to refresh our memories:
By the mouths of two or three witnesses, let everything be established.
Even though the words of Jesus should be sufficient for us to understand that there are people who believe in Him yet are not saved, let us look exegetically at the rest of Scripture to confirm this.
It is imperative that you read and reread this Scripture.
What is the proof that we know God?
If we keep His commandments!
If we say we know Him and don’t keep His commandments, we are liars! Liars, because we really do NOT know Him. If we truly know Him, we obey His commandments.
Can it get any clearer?
What does it mean to practice righteousness?
“Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.”
Practicing righteousness is carefully observing all of God’s commandments!
What does God mean when He says you must love your brother?
What is God’s definition of loving the brethren?
Answer: To love God and keep His commandments!
Many “Christians” today love to quote Matthew 22:36-40, thinking that all of God’s Commandments have been done away with and replaced with just two ‘easy’ commandments: Loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind and loving your neighbor as yourself.
Can you love your brother by murdering him? (6th Commandment)
Can you love your brother by committing adultery with his wife? (7th Commandment)
Can you love your brother by stealing from him? (8th Commandment)
Can you love your brother by lying about him? (9th Commandment)
Can you love God by worshipping other gods? (1st Commandment)
Can you love God through idol worship? (2nd Commandment)
Can you love God by using His name in vain? (3rd Commandment)
Can you love God by violating His Holy Sabbath? (4th Commandment)
Certainly NOT! But nearly all professing “Christians” do violate this commandment!
Who are YOU to pick and choose which commandments you will obey and which ones you will not obey?
All of Scripture says there is only one way that we can show that we truly love God, by obeying His commandments.
All of Scripture says there is only one way that we can show that we truly love our brethren, by obeying God’s commandments.
Then are we saved by keeping His commandments?
Salvation is a process.
You might be thinking, “This isn’t what I was taught. Salvation is instant. It is my present possession. You know, the security of the believer and all that. Blessed assurance, I mean, we sing a song that says we have it NOW.”
Sorry, this is NOT what God says.
Salvation Is A Process
Yes, we all begin the process on the road to damnation (by being dead in trespasses and sins). Then, by placing our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, we move directly onto the road that leads to eternal life. We become “born again”. However, this is the beginning of the process that leads to salvation. We MUST endure until the very end of our lives, continuing to place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ by obeying His commandments, which is the evidence that we love Him.
Scripture is clear on this matter.
Being spiritually dead, we first become alive (born again) by placing our faith in Christ, as Redeemer, Savior, and Lord.
He gives us the Holy Spirit, which allows us to walk in the spirit, so that we do not walk in the flesh of sin and unrighteousness (breaking God’s commandments).
How do you know if God abides in you?
Read it again.
God’s Word says there is a two step process in order for God to abide in you.
First, keep His commandments.
Second, He will give you the Holy Spirit as evidence that He is abiding in you.
Do you see the process?
Read it again.
See the process? Obey Him and the Holy Spirit will be given to you.
The evidence that our faith in Christ is in vain, is our disobedience to His commandments and not enduring to the end.
Slow down. Slowly contemplate these extremely important Scriptures. They are the very Words of the Living God.
We MUST continue in our obedience to His commandments, in order to not grieve the Holy Spirit (or He will leave us) and to show that we truly do love God.
IF YOU HOLD FAST
IF you hold fast!
You do not become a partaker of Christ unless you continue in the faith to the end!
You must hold the beginning of your confidence steadfast to the end.
True belief is obedience to His commandments and continuing in the faith.
Unbelief is disobedience to His commandments (sin) and departing from the faith.
Those who endure to the end are saved.
Those who do not endure to the end are not saved.
Those that fall away from obedience to God’s commandments (willfully sin) have only the fiery judgment of hell to look forward to.
We MUST endure all the trials of this life on earth to the very end in order to be saved. In fact, our salvation is NOT assured unless we continue on the road of obedience to His commandments to the very end of our lives. It is then, in the future, at the 2nd Coming, that we receive the salvation of our souls.
Yes, it is a long Scripture, but one that is well worth reading again. Listen to the words of Peter detailing the future of the life of the true believer and follower of Christ.
Your salvation is FUTURE! It is an inheritance. You do not possess an inheritance now. It is given to you in the future. It is RESERVED in heaven. It will be revealed in the last time (not now). You receive the salvation of your soul at the END OF YOUR FAITH! You need ENDURANCE because your life is being tried in the fire.
Your life on this earth is a test, a trial of your faith, that determines whether your faith was genuine or in vain. The need for endurance to finish the race of life doing God’s will is imperative to complete the salvation of your soul. Eternal life is reserved in heaven, and revealed at the 2nd Coming, exclusively for those whose faith was genuine.
Eternal life is given to those who patiently continue in the faith, obeying the truth.
Not only is Scripture clear that our salvation and reward is received at the end of our faith, after we have done the will of God, but that those who disobey God’s commandments (even ‘professing Christians’), are judged by the righteous King Jesus at His 2nd Coming and revelation.
Paul writing to the church at Thessalonica proclaims that the Lord will severely judge eternally two groups of people at His return. The first group is those that do not know the Lord. The second group is those that know Him but do not obey Him. This is consistent with all of Scripture. Many of which, have already been quoted.
Isn’t it obvious that there are two main groups of people on earth, those that know the Lord and those that do not know Him? Within the group that knows Him, there are those that obey Him and those that do not obey Him. It is this later group that will receive even a greater judgment than those who do not know the Lord.
Isn’t it apparent that obedience to God is much more important to the Lord than most people want to recognize?
The writer of the book of Hebrews says of Jesus, “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him…”Hebrews 5:9
The author of eternal salvation to those who believe in Him?
To those who obey Him.
Eternal salvation is for those who obey Him!
But, you say, “Isn’t that salvation by works?”
No, it is salvation by true faith! Saving faith! Faith that produces a love for Christ that translates into a life of obedience and good works.
The “Old” Testament strongly established this vital truth long before Peter and Paul.
Paul, in writing to the Romans about Israel rejecting their Savior, and the opportunity for “Gentiles” to become a part of the family of God wrote:
Read it again.
If you continue, you won’t be cut off.
If you do not continue (in the faith), you will be cut off!
Also Note: Does not the majority of the church today “consider the goodness of God”, while leaving “the severity of God” completely out of the discussion?
There are hundreds of Scriptures that tell us to “fear God”. How often to you hear that preached? How often do best-selling “Christian” authors write books on fearing God? Or even a paragraph or two? How often is the wrath of God, the severity of God, the judgment of God, taught? Are not these vital characteristics of the God in whom we believe, serve, and depend upon for our very lives?
The much preached and improperly taught ‘lovey-dovey’ gospel of “Nothing can separate you from the love of God”, is simply not supported as currently taught by preachers of the watered down ‘gospel’ by anything God Himself has said. The goosebump-gospel of easy believism is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fact that God sent His Son to die for your sins, once and for all on the cross of Calvary, is the explanation why nothing can separate you from the love of God, that the atoning work of Christ on the cross is irrevocable.
On the contrary, our sin and our willful disobedience, separates us from God Himself, not His provision of love through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.
God’s provision for salvation (Jesus’ death on the cross) is His love to us. That cannot be undone. It cannot be erased. Nothing can separate us from the love (provision) of God.
But our own sin separates us from God Himself.
Are all saved, because nothing can separate us from the love of God?
However, we, through our sins, separate ourselves from God.
To place confidence in a Calvinistic “once saved – always saved” gospel is to deny the truths that God has so perfectly made clear in His Word.
Wouldn’t it also cheapen Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, flippantly dismissing Jesus’ words of required obedience in order to love Him, and make the Gospel ‘of no effect’?
The gospel of easy believism teaches that all you have to do to be saved is “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”. They either implicitly teach or imply that to “believe” means to “think in your mind”. No where in Scripture can this be substantiated, but on the contrary, is convincingly refuted.
Can faith alone save you? It is a rhetorical question. The answer is no. Can faith plus works save you? The answer is also no.
The faith that produces enduring Godly works, saves. In other words, Saving faith saves. Saving faith produces enduring Godly works. Saving faith is faith in God. Trusting God. Believing God for Who He is, what He says. True faith saves. Because of the object of true faith is Jesus Christ. Faith that produces no works, no endurance, no fruit, is not saving faith.Says who?Says God.It is His salvation that He offers to mankind on His terms and His conditions.Man can try all he wants to finagle his way around the conditions God sets forth for salvation, but it will do him no good. You see, God is in charge. He has the keys to the narrow gate.Such finagling comes from “theologians” who try to use Scripture to make salvation easier to obtain. What they and many preachers fail to understand is that God set forth “conditions” for salvation. These conditions are not works that earn your salvation.Let’s use a parable or example to make it easy to understand.
A basketball team announces that they are giving away free tickets to anyone who shows up at their main box office on July 18th between 4pm and 8pm. They announce one ticket per person is allowed. There are no other conditions.
You are not required to purchase a ticket to get one free. The ticket is simply free. You do not have to shoot a basketball at mid-court and make it, in order to ‘earn’ the ticket. There is no way you can earn the ticket, pay for the ticket, or be someone special that ‘deserves’ the ticket. It is simply the good-hearted free gift from the team.
Even though anyone can get a free ticket, not everyone is going to get a free ticket, because there are conditions.
You have to show up at the main ticket office on July 18th between 4pm and 8pm.
There is only one ticket given per person.
Do all people in the world get a free ticket?
No, if they do not show up between 4pm and 8pm on July 18th.
No, if they do not show up at the main ticket office.
Yes, if they show up at the main ticket office between 4pm and 8pm on July 18th.
Do all the people who show up to the ticket office get a free ticket?
Not if they show up on July 19th.
Not if they want more than one ticket.
Not if they show up at 9pm on July 18th.
See the analogy?
Does everyone who believes in Jesus receive eternal life?
Not if they don’t repent, obey the commandments, and endure.
God offers the free gift of salvation to anyone.
You cannot earn it, work for it, pay for it, or deserve it. It is a free gift.
Does everyone receive the free gift? Is everyone saved?
No. Because God has made conditions in order to receive the free gift.
It is the grace of God, His goodness, to give the gift of salvation for free.
However, God has made conditions in order to receive it.
You MUST believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. That is an act. You have to DO something. Profess with your mouth. It is a CONDITION.
You MUST repent and be obedient to His commandments. This is a CONDITION.
You MUST endure to the end of your life believing and obeying. This is a CONDITION.
Believing in Jesus, repenting, obeying His commandments, and enduring are not works that earn your way into heaven. They are the conditions that God made in order for you to receive the free gift of salvation.
Do NOT confuse works with conditions.
If there were NO conditions to salvation, then everyone would be saved. We know this is not true because everyone is not saved.
Do you understand? If there were NO conditions, then EVERYONE would be saved. This is what Universalism teaches – but NOT what the Word of God teaches. There ARE CONDITIONS.
God says salvation is a free gift, you cannot earn it. He also says there are conditions to receive the free gift of salvation.
Works are the fruit, or produce of a Spirit led life. All true believers will be judged according to our works at the 2nd Coming of Christ. This judgment, called The Judgment Seat of Christ, does not determine our salvation, but determines the rewards we receive throughout eternity.
More on works, judgment of works, and where works fit into all of this.
You can believe in Jesus. However, you can believe in vain.
For all those who think they only need to “believe” in order to be saved, meditate on this Scripture:
You believe in Jesus, so do the demons.
You may call Jesus Lord. You may say that you believe in the one true God. You may profess Jesus on a daily, moment-to-moment basis. However, unless you obey God, doing what he commands you to do, your professing is empty and means absolutely nothing in regards to you getting to heaven.
Can works alone save us?
You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross of Calvary for your sins, and that He rose from the dead. This is the first step towards salvation. Your faith in Jesus Christ must be genuine. Your faith in Jesus Christ must endure. Your faith must produce evidence of a changed life, in that you obey the commandments of God.
Your belief must be saving belief. There IS non-saving belief.
If you were able to walk up to Jesus, right now, and ask Him, “What must I do to have eternal life?” what do you think He would say?
“Believe in Me.”?
“Place your faith in Me.”?
“Believe that I am the Son of God.”?
Believe it or not (no pun intended), the Scriptures record two different people walking up to Jesus and asking Him this very question of what “shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16 and Luke 10:25) Jesus’ response was not any of the above three statements. It was in fact the following:
You say, “But, but this is NOT what I was taught. They (preachers) have always told me that would be salvation by works. I always thought that Scripture said I was just to believe and I would be saved.”
Even common sense teaches us that many people say they “believe” something, but by their actions we know, or at least doubt, that they really believe in what they have just proclaimed.
I can say that I believe the hurricane is heading for my hometown. Nevertheless, if I do not place that belief into actions (boarding up windows, seeking higher ground, warning others, protecting my family, etc.), then what does that say about my “belief”?
What it says is that my belief was nothing more than idle words. My belief was in vain.
Doing good works after you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ is not salvation by good works. It is the evidence (and fruit) of true faith.
Thinking that your good works, apart from faith in Jesus Christ, earns you eternal life is the false belief of salvation by good works.
In other words, “True faith in Jesus, produces true works, through obedience to His commandments, throughout the life of the believer.”
A “faith” in Jesus that is spoken, announced, proclaimed, even defended, without works and obedience, is a faith that is in vain.
In vain means worthless, empty, hollow, profitless, useless, valueless, ineffective, and futile.
In addition, “faith” in Jesus with “works” based upon traditions (the commandments of men – denominations, etc), is a vain faith, worthless for salvation.
Are there “Christians” today who draw near to God, honoring Him with their words, praising Him with their mouths, teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus, worshipping Him; yet because they teach man-made (church) rules as doctrine, their faith is in vain (worthless)?
Isn’t this exactly what the majority of modern “Christianity” has become?
You say, “But how can you ask such a thing? Do you really think that most people professing to be “Christians” are not saved?”
What evidence is there that “Christians” today draw near to God, honoring Him with their words, praising Him with their mouths, teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus, worshipping Him; yet because they teach man-made rules as doctrine, their faith is in vain (worthless)?
Look around you. Compare what people are doing with what God says He requires us to do.
Read it again.
Strive is the Greek word “agonizomai”, which means to fight for, labor fervently, and struggle. This is where we get the word agonize.
Are you striving? Are you fighting for, laboring fervently, struggling with all your might to run the race of life according to God’s instructions?
Or, are you following the doctrines of men through the pop-psychology riddled, comfortable ‘gospel’ of ‘seeker friendly’, ‘purpose driven’, worldly ‘lovey-dovey’ “Christianity”?
Do you love the world?
Do you love the things that are in the world?
How much time do you spend watching television, going to movies, attending sporting events, playing video games, going to concerts, attending parties, talking on the telephone, being on the computer, reading novels and fiction?
Do you participate in these worldly activities?
Are you being entertained by what nailed Jesus to the cross? (Sin.)
Do you think you can listen to, read, or watch sinful acts and still please God?
Are you so deceived that you tell yourself, “I am a Christian, I know that ______ is wrong.”? (Fill in the blank with adultery, murder, lying, using the name of the Lord in vain, stealing, you know, all the things on TV and in the movies…) You say, “I won’t do any of those things. As long as I don’t do them, then I am not guilty of them.”
Jesus acknowledged that adultery is sin, yet also said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” Matthew 5:30
The sins of commission were not lightened, made easier to get around, done away with, or softened in any way by Jesus. On the contrary, Jesus clarified that sin is not only the act of violating God’s Law; it can also be the attitude of the heart.
You might well be saying, “Then who can be saved?”
The answer, very few people are.
Difficult is the way which leads to life!
Why is the way of salvation difficult?
Because you have to struggle, agonize, use all your energy (strive) to enter through the NARROW gate! You will be hated. You will be persecuted.
Did they persecute Jesus? Yes! Then they WILL persecute you.
Is your life so sanctified (set apart) and unworldly that the world hates you? Or are you doing the same things that the world does?
Do you listen to worldly music?
How much time do you listen to hymns and worshipful music?
Are you entertained by DVDs, movies, video games (with its violence, sex, and immorality) just like the world?
How much time do you spend studying God’s Word?
How much time and money do you spend attending and watching sporting events?
How much time and money do you spend ministering to the poor, the widows, the orphans, the stranger/alien, the sick, the down trodden?
How much time do you spend on the computer, or reading romance novels, spy thrillers, or the latest New York Times bestseller?
How much time do you spend exhorting and encouraging the brethren?
How much time do you spend talking on the phone, chatting with friends, or gossiping the latest ‘juicy’ details?
How much time do you spend adoring God, confessing your sins, thanking the Lord for His provision and goodness, and praying for your loved ones?
How much money do you spend on clothes, electronic gadgets, cars, boats, motorcycles, things for your home, non-eternal things?
How much money do you give to feed the hungry, provide for missionaries and the persecuted believers in the world, or real Christian ministries? (Not buildings, or big named “evangelists” so they can have their names in neon lights, or the American Cancer Society.)
Yes, there are the sins of omission.
How much time do you spend with God? Reading and studying His Word to get to know Him better? Praying? Worshipping Him? Doing His will? Ministering to the poor, the widows and orphans? Preaching the Good News? Leading people to Christ? Visiting the nursing homes, the shut-ins? Feeding the hungry? Teaching others the Words of the Living God? Inviting the poor and handicapped to dinner?
When was the last time you led someone to Christ? Where is the evidence that your life produces fruit?
Producing fruit is what you are here for. Did you know that?
Jesus taught His disciples many truths via parables. In fact, Scripture says that Jesus used many more parables than are actually written down, or contained in Holy Writ.
In Matthew 13 alone are found eight parables, including the parable of the soils, the parable of the wheat and tares, the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the leaven, the parable of the hidden treasure, the parable of the pearl of great price, the parable of the dragnet, and the parable of the householder.
Thirty-nine of the parables that Jesus taught are found in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
The Apostle John concludes his Gospel account with these words (the very last verse in the book of John), “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” John 21:25
Most people think that all the parables of Jesus are somewhat equal in their importance. However, Jesus proclaimed that one of His parables was the key to understanding all of His parables.
Which parable is Jesus talking about?
The parable of the sower and the seed.
And He said to them, ‘Do you understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure it only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arise for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among the thorns, they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good grown, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. Note: In Mark’s account of this parable, quoted above, Jesus says the seed is the word. In Luke’s account of this parable, Jesus clarifies it a little by saying, “The seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8:11)
Question: How are people born again?
Now this is THE MOST IMPORTANT parable to understand. If you understand this parable, you will understand ALL parables. Jesus said so! And He also said that you will know the mystery of the kingdom of God!
So what is the meaning of the parable of the sower and the seed?
Any farmer knows that a grain/seed must die first before it can become alive again, having the chance to produce a plant that contains many heads of grain/seed.
Jesus says there are four kinds of soils. In one of the soils, the wayside soil, the seed does not produce a plant. Instead, before it has a chance to be born again, birds come and take it. Jesus said that this was when the word of God is presented to someone, yet immediately it is taken away by Satan before the word has a chance to germinate in the heart.
In the other three soils: stony ground, thorny ground, and the good ground; the seed took root and produced a plant. The seed died and became ‘born again’, producing a plant. However, in two of the three soils, no produce or grain was created.
In the stony ground, the seed immediately came up (became born again), however when the sun came out, it was scorched and withered away, dying. Jesus said that this was when the word of God is presented to someone who hears it and immediately receives it with gladness. The person is ‘born again’, but falls away from the faith. Because the person only endures until tribulation or persecution arises, and then the person stumbles.
In the thorny ground, the seed springs up (became born again), yet the plant is choked by thorns, producing no crop. Jesus said that this was when the word of God is presented to someone and they receive it, but then the desire for things of the world, (money, possessions, worldly activities) overpower the word and it becomes unfruitful in that person’s life.
On the good ground, the seed springs up (became born again), and is fruitful, producing a crop that yields 30, 60, or 100 times the amount of seed. Jesus said that this was when the word of God is presented to someone and they receive it, going on to be productive for God in various ways.
Jesus said that the understanding of this parable was vital for His disciples to understand all the parables. Jesus was teaching and preparing His disciples, (those who currently followed Him as well as those in future generations who would follow Him), to preach the Gospel, the Word of God, to a lost and spiritually dead world.
Could it be that this parable is as simple as it seems to be in Jesus’ very explanation of it?
That as the Word is preached, there are four conditions that it will be received.
1 Some people will not receive the Word, and therefore they will not be born again.
2 Some people will receive the Word, be born again, but eventually fall away because of hardships and persecution.
3 Some people will receive the Word, be born again, but fall away because they spent their time pursuing things, materialism, or being concerned about things in the world.
4 Some people will receive the Word, are born again, persevere, endure, and go on to preach the Word and bear more fruit.
NOTE: I said there would be minimal opinion in this booklet. But this is too important to quickly skim over this passage. What do you think Jesus is trying to tell YOU? Are you born again but producing no fruit?
Yes, you may be a “good person”. You may even have some good works attributed to you. But what actually is Jesus talking about when He says “bear fruit”? What is this fruit?
Students of Scripture certainly know what Jesus means, because bearing fruit is a theme throughout the Bible. Here are but a few Scriptures that help us understand this most important of all parables.
What happens to the branch that does not bear fruit? It is cast out (cut off), withered (dies), thrown into the fire and burned (hell). So how important is it to bear fruit? Really, really important!
So what is this fruit?
Paul said fruit was his spiritual progeny, or those that he had led and discipled to Christ.
In Romans 1, Paul is expressing his desire to preach the Gospel in Rome (verse 15) so that he might “have some fruit among you also”, just as he has “among other Gentiles” (verse 13).
In Philippians 1 Paul is debating whether to die a martyr’s death or stay alive to continue to minister to his fruit. He gave the famous quote, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Then he said that if he lived on, that he would produce more fruit from his labors.
Grape branches bear grapes, which is their fruit. Apple trees bear the fruit of apples. Dogs bear the fruit of puppies.
So what do born again followers of Jesus bear? What is our fruit?
Why of course -other believers!
We are to fulfill the Great Commission. To preach the Gospel throughout the world.
The parable of the seed and the sower is the MOST IMPORTANT parable! From understanding it we may know the mystery of the kingdom of God!
The sower sows the WORD OF GOD!
Do you understand the mystery of the kingdom of God now?
Do you understand why few enter through the narrow gate?
Do you understand why there are so many born-again “Christians” that profess to know Him, and are going through the motions, but are not bearing fruit?
Let’s take a short tour of Psalm 119.
Read it again, slowly.
Do you say with your mouth, “I don’t love the world”, but in practice, participate in worldly things?
There are many, not few, false prophets, doing everything in their power (through the power of Satan) to deceive you.
Wouldn’t the greatest deception Satan could pull off, be to get people to think (believe) they are “saved” when in all reality, according to God, they are not?
Isn’t it God who determines what true salvation is and isn’t?
- Are you practicing any of the above sins?
- Do you know what uncleanness means?
- Do you really know what licentiousness means?
- Are you aware of the meaning of pharmakeia?
If you are practicing any of the above sins, God says you are going to hell. If God says the rules for eternal life are “such and such”, don’t you think it wise to know what the details are and what may exclude you from His kingdom?
Are you going to follow the masses who think and believe they are saved even though they are headed to the broad gate?
Are you able to create your own religion, with your own set of rules, to go to your own heaven?
There is only One Creator of heaven and earth.
God is explaining that the Great Apostasy, the falling away of the faith, one of the two definitive signs that the 2nd Coming of Christ is near, happens because “Christians” no longer have a love for the truth. To make the dividing line black-and-white, God Himself sends a strong delusion so those who do not love the truth will succumb to “the lie”.
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31
God’s Word has established:
God provided for salvation to all of mankind, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
This provision for salvation is God’s love toward all of mankind, once and for all.
Salvation is a FREE GIFT.
In order to receive the free GIFT of salvation, you must meet God’s conditions for salvation, as He is the one Who made the rules for salvation.
Receiving the GIFT of salvation is a process.
It requires three steps, in specific order, as God has laid out in His Word.
First, you must believe (have faith) that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died and rose from the dead. However, there are two kinds of belief (faith).
Saving belief and non-saving belief. (Saving faith and non-saving faith.)
Saving belief (faith) produces a changed life.
Non-saving belief (faith) is all in the head.
Second, you must obey the commandments, in order to meet the conditions of salvation.
Obedience to God’s commandments is the proof that you have saving faith. The Holy Spirit is given to the believer in order to strengthen them throughout their life.
Third, you must endure, continue in saving faith and obedience, until the end of your life, in order to be saved (meet the conditions of salvation).
Faith, obedience and endurance are not earning your salvation. They are meeting the conditions God has laid out for salvation. Salvation is a free gift.
When you initially believe, God gives you the Holy Spirit, this is how you become “born again”.
The Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer, aids the believer in obedience and enduring.
By continuing to obey His commandments, God continues to dwell in you through the Holy Spirit.
If you love Jesus, you will obey the commandments.
You have been given by God the free-will to choose His Son, you can also turn away from “the faith”. If you turn away from the faith, you are no longer on the road to salvation.
Few are saved.
Many seek eternal life, but are not able to obtain it.
The road to salvation is difficult.
You must strive, work hard, forsake all, deny self, die daily, suffer persecution, and endure hardships in order to be saved.
You must bear fruit. In order to bear fruit, you MUST abide in Christ!
Therefore, you now can correctly answer these questions that were asked at the beginning:
- Are you saved?
- Are you going to heaven?
- How do you know if you are saved or not?
- What does it mean to be saved?
- Who determines if you are saved or unsaved?
- How do you become saved?
- Can you become unsaved?
My prayer is that the Word of God transforms your life. That you are in awe of God. That you have a contrite heart (contrition is having a profound sense of one’s sinfulness). That you have a tremendous desire to love the Lord, obey Him, be led by His Spirit, and strive to enter in at the narrow gate.
Joel Blake Sawyer
Blake and his family
A child of the Most High God for over 45 years (he got saved at a David Wilkerson Crusade in the early 70’s), Blake Sawyer has dedicated his life to serving the Lord. Being led by the Spirit to seriously study the Word of God, Blake has served the Lord through a wide variety of ministries.
He has been blessed to have been the main researcher for several best-selling Christian books exposing false Christianity while promoting true Christianity. He has also had the opportunity to work in an orphanage in Argentina for nearly 20 years. Blake loves helping others.
Blake’s passion is to teach God’s truths, to disciple the Believer, and to encourage, prepare, and equip Christians for the straight and narrow road. To him, this is the Great Commission.
Suffering from a life-threatening illness in his late teens, Blake petitioned the Lord for healing. God answered his prayer. However, he received the healing in the form of being taught HOW God originally designed the human body (to be a blessing, not a curse), guiding him how to bring the body into that divine condition so the body will be in a healthy, healing, properly functioning state without any disease. Blake shared this truth with others. Thousands of people have applied these Biblical truths and have been healed of everything from ‘ordinary diseases’ (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.) to ‘incurable’ diseases (such as Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, ALS, Alzheimer’s, stage 4 cancers, and more.)
Blake has written a booklet explaining how our Creator designed the body to function, through the seven internal environments of the human body. The book provides the solutions and directions on how anyone can bring their body back to the way God designed it to work. Blake considers this act as placing God back on the throne of their lives, which is the position He deserves. Nearly everyone, including Christians, have done many things to get out of that divine condition. The booklet is available on his health website, and is free to anyone.
Blake also has a passion to help the followers of Christ to leave Mystery Babylon, which is now coming under the judgment of God. Studying this topic seriously for over 40 years, he has written about THE solution to survive the Tribulation Period, the Antichrist, and the Mark of the Beast. This information is available on his safe havens website.
Blake has been married to his wife for 29 years. They have a 23-year- old son that works in his businesses. Their 21-year- old daughter, is graduating from a private Christian college in 2016, and will be getting married in early 2017. (See photo.)
You may contact Blake at:
Read the book on divine health at: www.royalvelvetnow.com (Click on the FREE BOOK icon at the top of the page.)
Read where you can survive The Tribulation, the Antichrist, and The Mark of the Beast at:
Many of his articles will also be re-published here, on Meranda’s website.
Latest posts by Blake Sawyer (see all)
- Do We Need To Keep The Commandments Today ?- Joel Blake Sawyer - July 27, 2016