Ezekiel 47: 1-5
“Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side. When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins. Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.”
This is the fourth session in the series on ‘God Measures Our Faith‘.
In the last session, I talked about the cases where people are outside of the boundary of salvation.
People remain outside of the boundary of salvation first, because they do not accept the Lord after hearing the Gospel; secondly, they attend church, but do not gain faith even as small as a mustard seed; thirdly, they don’t know the truth; and fourthly, they continue to consciously commit sins knowing the Truth.
The fundamental reason why people cannot receive salvation is sins.
The God of love does not immediately punish sinners.
He gives them many chances.
What then are the kinds of sins people commit that keep them outside of the boundary of salvation?
Let’s deeply consider this based on the Bible.
I hope you will understand this very clearly, so that you will not lose faith after gaining the faith to receive salvation. You should be on alert about sins so that you will not mistakenly think that you have received salvation.
Brothers and sisters,
Those who do not accept the Lord as the Savior cannot receive salvation.
It is because nobody but the Lord can pay the redemption price for the sins of the mankind.
So, they cannot be forgiven of their sins without accepting the Lord. Furthermore, if this is the case, they will definitely receive the punishment of death according to the law of the spiritual realm that says that the wages of sin is death.
They have to pay the price for the original sin inherited from Adam and the sins they committed themselves.
They will be questioned concerning the sin of not believing in the Lord.
This is showing total disrespect for God the Father who created men.
It is the greatest sin of all.
But even those who have become children of God by accepting the Lord can have very different results according to how they lead their lives of faith.
In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
Those who say, ‘Lord, Lord,’ are the ones who know and say they believe in the Lord.
And Jesus clearly says that not all these people will enter into Heaven.
It means those who say with their lips, ‘Lord, Lord’, and ‘I believe in the Lord’ but do not practice the will of God, cannot enter Heaven.
In Matthew 7:23 Jesus said about these people, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
What is the lawlessness here?
1John 3:4 says, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
Lawlessness is any act that is against the word of God.
Lawlessness is to disobey all the words of God that tell us not to do and to cast away certain things, and to do and to keep other things. They are all sins.
When people accept the Lord, God forgives of all their past sins.
Even though they are red like crimson, they will be cleaned white as snow.
But if they practice lawlessness again, namely if they commit sins after they are forgiven of sins, Jesus stated that they might not be saved.
Then you might wonder God is the God of forgiveness, and does that mean God’s love has limitations?
Of course not, God’s love has no limitations.
God keeps on forgiving again and again.
It’s just that even though they received salvation, if they commit such a grave sin or if they keep on committing sins beyond a limit, the enemy devil and Satan will bring accusation against them saying, “How can he be a child of God?”
God is love itself, but at the same time He is a just God.
Namely, He keeps the Law Himself, and thus, if the enemy devil and Satan make accusations based on the law of the spiritual realm, He has to accept it.
At a point He cannot help but turn over His beloved children to the enemy devil and Satan.
Therefore, we must not commit any sin, but especially, we must never commit sins leading to death.
If we did, we have to repent immediately and turn back.
But the problem is there are sins for which you cannot repent.
From now, let me talk about the sins which are directly related to salvation that may cause you to lose your salvation.
Let me explain the main idea, and I will get into the details and examples later.
Dear brothers and sisters, not all sins are the same.
Some sins are relatively light and they can be forgiven immediately upon repentance, while other sins are heavy and so serious that God says we cannot be saved if we commit such sins.
Among these sins that cause the loss of salvation, there are sins leading to death.
These sins are more grave sins than sins that deprive of salvation.
Sins that deprive of salvation can be forgiven if you repent, but sins leading to death are fearful sins of which you cannot even repent.
Let us first delve into sins that deprive of salvation.
In the Old Testament, God said that if people commit certain kinds of sins they have to be killed or that those sinners are to be cut off from among the people of God.
These sins are the ‘sins that deprive of salvation’.
For example, Exodus 31:15 says, “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death.”
To violate the Sabbath is a sin that deprives of salvation.
Also, in Leviticus 18:29 after listing many sins, it says, “For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people.”
These sins are the sins that deprive of salvation.
In the New Testament, Jesus said about certain sins, ‘They will not enter the kingdom of heaven,’ or ‘They will not inherit the kingdom of God.’ These are the sins that deprive of salvation.
For example, Galatians 5:19-21 says, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
And if we think about both Old and New Testament, we can see that the sins that deprive of salvation are the works of the flesh.
Works of the flesh are the sins committed in action.
God is holy.
And God’s children have to resemble Him and be holy.
If we just harbor sins in heart, it is far from holiness, and if we commit sins in action, it’s even further away from holiness.
Of course, not all works of the flesh deprive of salvation.
For example, both giving a sidelong scowl to a brother and adultery are works of the flesh.
But the gravity of the sin is surely different.
Likewise, some works of the flesh deprive of salvation while other works of the flesh are relatively easily forgiven if you repent and turn away.
But what you have to know is that even though it is not a sin that deprives of salvation, if it goes beyond a certain limit, you might lose your salvation because of that.
For example, hitting somebody lightly is a work of flesh, and it is not as grave as to deprive you of salvation.
But if this work of flesh goes beyond a limit, it can be a sin that deprives you of salvation.
Suppose a married couple go to church together.
The husband should care for his wife as he cares for his own body, but he habitually hits her.
Of course, hitting the wife a couple of times will not take away his salvation.
If he repents with heart and tries to stop this habit, God will forgive him.
If he really tries, he can eventually cast away this sin.
But this husband keeps on hitting his wife even after attending church for 10 or 20 years or even longer.
There is no change in him.
Then, he might cross the line of salvation.
If his spirit departs without repentance, he cannot receive salvation.
As said in 1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth,” this kind of person is a liar who does not practice the truth.
It means he does not fear God, and he does not believe in Heaven and Hell.
That is why he does not circumcise his heart but just keeps his evil.
God does not say such a person has faith.
And so God cannot save him.
He did not prepare the holy garments and he cannot enter heavenly kingdom.
If such a work of flesh is accumulated, the wall of sin standing between God and him will become increasingly thicker.
In a severe case, his conscience might be seared as with hot iron and be controlled by Satan.
On the contrary, however, even if he commits a sin depriving of salvation, he can receive salvation if he really repents and turns away.
God does not judge us at once but forgives us again and again, and He gives us chances considering the measure of our faith.
Otherwise, how many of us would be able to receive salvation?
For example, not just the 1st and 2nd level of faith but those in the beginning of 3rd level of faith might do some works of the flesh.
You might think the third level of faith is when you cast away all works of the flesh. Yes, they don’t commit grave works of the flesh, but they might commit light works of the flesh such as speaking with some frustration or giving a sidelong scowl at somebody.
But even if they commit works of the flesh, if they repent and try not to do it again, God forgives them.
If little children who have just learned to use the bathroom make mistakes and have accidents, is there any parent who would not forgive them?
It’s the same with God.
Even though they might commit some sins in the process of changing into holy children of God, God does not discard them right away.
Some believers commit sins that may deprive salvation due to weak faith, but they repent with the heart.
They don’t just repent, but they keep on praying to cast away those sins with the help of the Holy Spirit.
God shows His compassion on such people.
Even if their spirit departs while they have not cast away all the works of the flesh, He saves them seeing their deeds and effort.
To sum this up, if you commit the works of the flesh that take away salvation, you cannot receive salvation.
But, if you repent and turn away thoroughly, God opens the way for you to receive salvation.
On the contrary, even though they are not sins that deprive of salvation, if you just keep on committing them you might not receive salvation.
Next, I’ll explain about the sins leading to death.
I just explained that the works of the flesh that take away salvation can be forgiven if you really repent.
But there are some works of the flesh for which you cannot receive the spirit of repentance even though you try to repent. So, you cannot repent of them.
Because you cannot repent, you cannot be forgiven either.
These sins are sins leading to death.
They also belong to the category of sins ‘taking away salvation’, but they are more grave sins.
1 John 5:16 says, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.”
As written, the sins leading to death cannot be forgiven even though you ask for it.
That is why God tells us not to make request for this.
Let me give you three representative examples of sins leading to death.
First, it is blaspheming and speaking against the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 12:31-32 says, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”
This is the word of Jesus.
The second kind of sins leading to death is to crucify the Lord again to put Him to open shame.
Hebrews 6:4-6 says, “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
The third sin leading to death is to willfully commit sins again and again.
Hebrews 10:26-27 says, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.”
These sins leading to death are committed by those who say they believe rather than those who have weak faith.
The sins depriving of salvation are more often committed by those in the first and second levels of faith, while the sins leading to death are usually committed by those in the third level of faith, or those who are supposed to be in the third level of faith.
For example, a person in the third level of faith might be tempted for a moment and commit an evident work of the flesh.
This is to crucify the Lord all over again.
Also, if he commits this sin not just once but continually, it is the case where he willfully commits sins knowing the truth.
If a person at the third level of faith commits such an evident work of the flesh, it means that he did not dwell in the word of God up until this sin was committed.
There must be a reason for that. Perhaps he did not circumcise his heart but took the worldly things, or he stopped praying and neglected his duties.
So, as a result of ignoring the word of God over a period of time, he eventually came to accept the temptation.
Also, if a person who is supposed to be in the third level of faith stays in the first or the second level of faith for a long time and commits works of the flesh continually, then this too can be considered as sins leading to death.
If a person is not a new-believer who does not know the truth but he is supposed to have faith, and if such a believer still commits works of the flesh, it implies that the sins committed are grave.
If you do not cast off works of the flesh but keep on committing them, or if the Lord calls your spirit when you have not repented of these sins, you cannot receive salvation.
In the next session, we are going to talk about the ‘sins depriving salvation’ and ‘sins leading to death’ in greater detail.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Is there anybody who thinks like, ‘It seems so difficult to receive salvation. There are so many kinds of sins’?
But salvation is simple and easy if you just obey God’s word that tells us to do, not do, cast away, and keep certain things.
It seems salvation is difficult because you have the desire to commit sins and still be exempt from the law of God.
Of course, you here would want to cast off such desire quickly.
But why doesn’t it happen as you wish?
It is a result of being born and raised in sins and having been living a life in this sin-filled world with no regard for the Law of God.
But God the Father does not want to lose even just one soul, and He never gives up on you.
Therefore, now, you should not have fear thinking, “I committed these many sins so how can I receive salvation?” You should have the faith with which you try to cast off the desire to practice lawlessness.
God the Father knows what kind of generation this is, and so He pours down the Holy Spirit on you continually.
He washes those who want to resemble God and become His holy children.
I pray in the name of the Lord that, you will work out your salvation with water, namely the word of God, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and become purer day by day.