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Grace and Truth Lesson 7 – Minus 1 Degree

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  • 2021
  • G

Grace and Truth – Minus One Degree

“Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so, does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1) The writer warns us that foolish little things can destroy the reputation of one held in honor. Beautiful perfume plus dead flies equal foul odor.

It has been calculated that if an airplane is flying from New York to London, but the instruments are off to the south only one degree; the airplane will not arrive in London, but somewhere in France. The same is true with theology; it only takes small mistakes to bring us to the wrong conclusions.

  1. Is it possible to lose our salvation?

This is a bad question. If we ask the wrong question, we receive the wrong answer. It is true that we cannot lose our salvation like losing our cell phones. But these are better questions: Is it possible for us to walk away from our relationship with God? Do we lose the power of choice as Christians? Is it possible for a Christian to sin? The apostle John said, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (I John 2:1) God has provided an abundant gift of salvation that is available to anyone who will receive it. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)

  1. Has God forgiven our past, present, and future sins?

Again, this is a bad question because there is no such thing as a future sin. 

The Bible speaks of “the sins that were previously committed.” (Romans 3:25) These are sins from our past. 

The Bible speaks about sin in the present tense, “Whoever commits sin, commits lawlessness.” (I John 3:4) 

But the Bible never speaks about future sins because all sin involves an act of our will. No one sins accidentally. 

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) There is a difference between sinning and being tempted to sin. Jesus was tempted, but He did not yield to the temptation and never sinned.

There is no court of justice that would convict us for a crime we have not committed. That would not be justice. God has made provision for any sins we may commit in the future, but we must receive God’s gift to be forgiven. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) 

  1. Does the Bible contradict itself?

No, the Bible cannot be true and contradict itself. There is a law called the law of noncontradiction. This law states there cannot be two opposite answers to the same question. But there can be two sides to the same story. This is called a paradox. A paradox is a statement that seems contradictory to common sense and yet is perhaps true. 

For instance, is it possible for a Christian to sin? We know that is possible because of our personal experience. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” I John 1:8-9) This Scripture is dealing with the fact that none of us are perfect and our imperfections can lead us to do things that are wrong. Imperfections are not sin, but when we act upon them, then we are guilty and must repent and change. Only Jesus is perfect. Salvation does not depend upon us; salvation depends on us trusting our Savior.

“He who sins is of the devil.” (I John 3:8) “Whoever is born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him, and he cannot sin.” (I John 3:9) When we read this Scripture in context it is speaking of practicing sin. It is saying it is impossible for a Christian to practice a life of sin.  

There are many Scriptures like these that can be interpreted in different ways. It is important to read them in their context. This is the reason the apostle John warns us of the “spirit of truth” and the “spirit of error.” (I John 4:6) We can be straight as a gun barrel doctrinally and as empty as a gun barrel spiritually. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) A man’s morality dictates his theology. Jesus said, unless we become like a little child, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.

The little child holds the truth in a pure heart.

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