"And from among yourselves will
arise men, speaking perverse things
to pull away disciples after themselves."
Before Paul warned the small group of believers in Ephesus of the men, from amongst them, who would pull them away unto themselves, he tells them to:
"Take heed to yourselves and to the entire flocklet."
Paul was telling that flocklet - small group of believers - to not only watch out for themselves, but to watch-out for one another. The point being made was that individually and collectively they would be safe from false teachings, false teachings that would creep into their gathering if they failed to remain in Paul's teaching.
Many of the Circumcision believers were jealous of Paul, not of his person, but of his teaching.
They felt it was to liberating.
Ritual and pomp were not part of Paul's evangel. It was a message of freedom, a no strings attached message. A message that many felt would cause the hearer to rely on Gods grace more than the system, a system that they felt was the God ordained mediator to keep its followers on the path to righteousness (Acts 21:20-21).
Paul taught that as soon as human merit was added to salvation you then had fallen out of grace. Read what he tells the Galatians;
"For freedom Christ frees us! Stand firm, then, and be not again enthralled with the yoke of slavery.. Exempted from Christ were you who are being justified in law. You fall out of grace. For we, in spirit, are awaiting the expectation of righteousness by faith."
The only way we can fall out of grace - relatively speaking - is when we believe and act on something other than Christ to complete our salvation. In the absolute all are covered by grace, but we who are enlightened to the way of God in this era of grace and turn aside to the ways of flesh to try and appease God fall out of grace, and fall into human merit.
We disbar grace; we fall from the truth of enjoying grace for what it is - an act bestowed upon someone who deserves the opposite - and fall into a pattern of trying to appease God with works, by trying to earn, and keep, His grace.
Although it is impossible to sin your way out of the grace of God (Romans 5:20), it is not impossible to fall out of grace by relying on good works to keep you in Gods favor (Galatians 5:4).
This truth is a mystery to devoutly religious leaders, as well as those who are ignorant of Paul's message.
The opposite is truth to them.
They teach sin and you fall out of Gods grace.
Do good works and you will continue in His grace.
To the human intellect this sounds and feels right, but to accord to the evangel of Paul it is what Paul would call perverse.
"If we are disowning, He also
will be disowning us."
2 Timothy 2:12
Much of what we believe will result in how our conduct will be.
If you have not heard of the transcendent grace of God you will live your life by your own merits, or what others expect of you, not God.
You will say things like;
"I'm a good person, why wouldn't God accept me?"
"As long as I am obedient I will be fine."
The above verse in Second Timothy, plus the verses below in 1 Corinthians chapter six are used by those who want to prove that grace might not be enough to keep you in Gods good graces. Paul in both cases is speaking "of" believers;
"Already, indeed, then, it is absolutely a discomfiture for you that you are having lawsuits among yourselves. Wherefore are you not rather being injured? Wherefore are you not rather being cheated? But you are injuring and cheating, and this to brethren! Or are you not aware that the unjust shall not be enjoying the allotment of God's kingdom? Be not deceived. Neither paramours, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor catamites, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards; no revilers, no extortioners shall be enjoying the allotment of God's kingdom."
When you look at this on the surface it would appear that those committing such acts are in danger of being abandoned by God, or are in the process of losing their salvation, or are in fact lost. But, when you come to realize that greed, drunkenness, adultery, sodomy etc. have no bearing on your salvation (remember transcendent grace?), you will see these acts cannot separate you from God.
Notice the word allotment, in the above verses?
In some versions it say's inherit.
An allotment means a portion of.
To inherit something means to receive a portion of as well.
Both words have to do with receiving something. Salvation is not received for doing something, it is all Gods doing, nothing we do (Ephesians 2:8-9), so these verses have nothing to do with keeping or losing salvation.
In the verses above those who commit these practices "continually" or as a lifestyle - not those who have a slip up or a season of bad practice - will not receive their allotment or inheritance in God's kingdom. They don't lose their salvation, which is by grace, but they will suffer loss of an allotment - higher place of service - in the coming kingdom of God, they are still saved, but only saved.
If you don't believe that someone who practices these acts can actually be a believer read what Paul has to say in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11;
"I write to you in the epistle not to be commingling with paramours. And undoubtedly it is not as to the paramours of this world, or the greedy and extortionate, or idolaters, else, consequently, you ought to come out of the world. Yet now I write to you not to be commingling with anyone named a brother, if he should be a paramour, or greedy, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner."
Paul goes on a little later on how our conduct should be around these believers, who make a career out of these practices, but that isn't the point, the point is they are still believers.
Some would argue that these believers were only calling themselves a brother, but were not. Read the verse, the context shows that there are those of the world who act this way, as well as those who are named a brother who act this way.
Now back to what Paul says about an allotment.
Paul confirms this allotment reward in 2 Timothy 2:11-13;
"Faithful is the saying: For if we died together, we shall be living together also;
if we are enduring, we shall be reigning together also; if we are disowning, He also will be disowning us; if we are disbelieving, He is remaining faithful - He cannot disown Himself."
The first part has to do with salvation - we died together with Him, so now we live together with Him - which is for all who are chosen to believe, this can never be revoked; enduring has to do with reigning; disowning has to do with not enduring, therefore He will disown us from reigning, because we didn't endure (read the verse again); "If we are enduring, we shall be reigning; if we are disowning, He also will be disowning us." The context has to do with reigning. Some versions say "if we are denying Him, He will deny us." What we will be denied is our allotment in reigning in His service. But, - here is the Grand Slam - "If we are disbelieving, "He" is remaining faithful - its all about Him - He cannot disown Himself (us, who are His body 1 Corinthians 12:27; and His temple 1 Corinthians 3:16)." (Read Romans 8:33-39 for an understanding of how sure your salvation is.)
So in 2 Timothy Paul is saying; if we died together with Christ, we will live together with Christ, if we endure we will reign - have an allotment -, if we don't endure we won't reign - no allotment-, if we disbelieve - which probably causes a lack of enduring - He is faithful, He cannot disown Himself, because as Romans 8 tells us; "Nothing can separate us from God."
Even though many of the acts committed in 1 Corinthians are perverse in nature, they are all sins of the flesh, and will never stand in the way of His grace for us because;
"Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds."
This is hard for many to accept because you can't see grace, you can only experience it.
And when we are experiencing grace we often don't even realize it.
Works are visible, both good and bad, and both give our emotions either a rush, or a let down.
When perverse acts are committed grace kicks into high gear, grace always superexceeds the sin.
Paul encourages us to abstain from these acts (Romans 6: 1-2), but he also tells us these acts will never separate us from Gods salvation, and our celestial home.
Grace is a stumbling block for those who live by sight and deeds.
They truly believe they are saved by grace, but when it comes down to actually stripping grace down - or raising grace up - to its truest meaning, it boggles the minds of those who want to show their faith by their works.
Grace leaves our works at the foot of the cross; works drags our works back to the cross, as well as into the faces of all who have eyes, to show them what works have been done to earn Gods favor.
Christ was successful, we are justified (Romans 5:19).
What He was sent to do, He did, remove sin (John 1:29).
Nothing we do, or don't do, can change that (Romans 8: 35-39).
"And there is not a creature which is
not apparent in its sight. Now all is naked
and bare to the eyes of Him to Whom we
This verse speaks on so many levels.
First; we are accountable to God, no one else. When we all stand before Him it is to Him we will give an account, not to any other (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Second; He sees all; nothing is hidden from His sight. What we do in the open for others to see, He knows the motive, what we do in secret He also sees.
For both we can all be thankful;
"For all of us must be manifested in front of the dais of Christ, that each should be requited for that which he puts into practice through the body, whether good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:10
We will all have to give an account for what we have done in the flesh.
We will be requited (be given an appropriate return) for what we have done in the flesh.
No one will walk away from this feeling misunderstood, or cheated. All will have the knowledge that God has done right, and they will be allotted their portion in His kingdom.
His grace will never be revoked, and neither will our place in Him.
The Believers Allotment
"And rouses us together and seats
us together among the celestials."
Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:40-42 uses the celestial bodies, the sun, the moon, and the stars to show us the varying degrees of glory at the time of the resurrection;
"There are bodies celestial as well as bodies terrestrial. But a different glory, indeed, is that of the celestial, yet a different that of the terrestrial, another glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for star is excelling star in glory. Thus also is the resurrection of the dead."
The stars in this verse represent us.
All the stars are "in glory", but as can be seen some stars excel other stars in glory, thus also is the resurrection of the dead.
So, at the resurrection, we will all have to give an account, and all will be applauded;
"So that, be not judging anything before the season, till the Lord should be coming, Who will also illuminate the hidden things of darkness and manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then applause will be coming to each one from God."
(1 Corinthians 4:5).
God at that time will illuminate the darkness in us, as well as what was the motive behind our actions, no blame will be given because no one has ever withstood His intention (Romans 9:19), and all is of God (2 Corinthians 5:18), He is responsible for us because we are His achievement (Ephesians 2:10), but we are all still accountable to Him (Romans 14:12).
God places us in our situations and environments (Jeremiah 10:23; Ephesians 1:11b), He puts all of us on the road we have to walk, and it is by His grace that we overcome, or don't overcome situations we have been placed in (Philippians 2:12-13; Psalms 115:3). Even when we don't overcome, His transcendent grace will always superexceed the sin. We will still have a place in the glory; we might not excel others who were designated to reign above us (1 Corinthians 15:41b), but we will never lose our place in His kingdom, so;
"Lift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their hosts by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing."
So when you look up on a clear night, you will see - in type - we all have a place and none of us are missing.
"For star is excelling star in glory."