The Path to a Weak and Sinful Church

The Path to a Weak and Sinful Church

Most Christians are afraid to rebuke other Christians who are in sin. Most Christians hate being rebuked by others if they are in sin, therefore, there’s not much rebuking going on and many Christians who are in sin refuse to listen to rebukes. This is NOT how the Church of the Living God is supposed to operate.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee (Proverbs 9:8). A wise person takes rebuke because they know they aren’t perfect and they want to grow into Christ-likeness. Therefore, they welcome it and learn from it.

We are commanded to exhort one another daily because of the deceitfulness of sin. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). ‘Exhort’ means to advise, warn, and caution. Sin hardens people’s hearts against the Lord so if you see a fellow believer going down the wrong path, it is your duty to go warn them about it. Sin grows in darkness and secrecy. Rebuking sin exposes it to the light of truth.

Women have told me that they don’t want to rebuke. They would rather just “love” others. This sounds warm and fuzzy but it’s not biblical. Speaking the truth in love is biblical and truth isn’t always easy to speak but imperative for the body of believers; for he who turns a brother or sister from his error covers over a multitude of sin. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19, 20).

Ken wrote a reply to a man who tried rebuking someone and lost the friendship over it. Yes, this often happens, unfortunately, since there aren’t many believers who are in sin who will receive rebuke without getting angry.

“I suggest that if you are prayerful about your questions and seek the help of the Spirit in what you say, you then must leave it to the Spirit to do his mighty work in the lives of those who are transgressing or moving towards sin. If this same person was too close to a cliff and about to fall, would you not try to stop them and move them away from the cliff even at the risk of your friendship? We are not responsible for how people respond to exhortation and we won’t always get it right, but when the body of Christ stops exhorting and rebuking is when we end up with a weak and sinful church.

I can tell you over the years that I have many who I have counseled, Christians and non-Christians, who have told me that they were upset with me when I talked to them about their faults, yet weeks and years later I get a kind thank you. Some have said I helped radically change their lives with my exhortation. So be patient and respond to the Spirit inside of you with care and yet not being shy to do as He prompts you to do. If not, we are not being a brother to the family of God.”

My favorite authors, preachers, bloggers, and teachers are those who convict and challenge me towards godliness since I know that I need it. I don’t care at all for those who make me comfortable and feel good about myself, except for who I am in Christ. The culture pulls us away from godliness and this is why we need godly brothers and sisters in Christ who are willing to rebuke, exhort, and encourage us in our daily living. We easily forget and need to remind each other continually.

Never be afraid to do what the Lord has called you to do. There’s an eternity in front of us and all that matters is where our loved ones spend it. 

29 thoughts on “The Path to a Weak and Sinful Church

  1. Lori, what I don’t understand about this is if we are “Once Saved Always Saved” then why does it matter if we rebuke other Christians? Is this only in regards to non-believers?

    1. I don’t concern myself with the “once saved always saved” belief, Emily. I just believe what the Word of God tells us. The only ones who will be saved are those believe until the end.

      “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end…And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief…For we which have believed do enter into rest…” (all from Hebrews 3) The entire book of Hebrews is about having faith and enduring until the end. The only unforgivable sin is that of unbelief.

      1. Awesome! Yes, I agree with you. So do you believe that people can lose their salvation, by not choosing God (sinning) even after being Baptized, and then not repenting?

        1. Baptism doesn’t save us. It’s a symbol of dying to the old self and being raised a new creature in Christ. If someone continues to live in sin, they are not a true believer according to 1 John. Repentance means we turn from our sin, so someone who refuses to repent, even if they say they believe, their actions show they are not a true believer.

          1. Lori, I agree with you on this article, however I completely disagree regarding salvation. The moment we are saved, when we BELIEVE the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) we are filled with the Holy Spirit of Promise. And the Book of Hebrews was written specifically to the Jews. I read scripture literally but also dispensationally. Romans – Philemons is specifically to the Church today.

            “In order for us to lose something we must have the responsibility for keeping it secure. Otherwise, we did not lose it, someone else did. We must be very careful as we study the Scripture to sort the mail according to whom it was written. We must not read into a verse what is not there, and must interpret a verse in its proper context. This is what makes dispensational Bible study so helpful to our understanding God’s will and purpose.

            In regards to our salvation in the dispensation of grace, we can clearly see that we receive through Paul the message of ‘salvation by grace’. Romans is a wonderful book to illuminate our understanding of salvation by grace in this age.

            We learn in Romans 1-3 that men are desperately wicked. In fact, Paul calls them reprobate, sinners, wicked, evil, and deserving of anguish and God’s wrath. Every man, Jew and Gentile has broken God’s law of righteousness and is guilty before a just God who will judge our works in this life, whether they be good or evil.

            It is through the use of appealing to man’s conscious and the law of God that Paul identifies every man unworthy and incapable of obtaining righteousness through their own efforts. He concludes in Romans 3:10 by saying, ‘There is none righteous, no not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.’

            Since God demands perfect righteousness for salvation and eternal life, we are all condemned to death and judgment in hell.

            However, Paul is given a special revelation from God that explains that now we can receive righteousness and salvation apart from the law (Gal 1:11, 12). In fact, the purpose of the law was never to save anyone, but to show that they were guilty.

            “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” – Romans 3:19
            The law was to bring the ‘knowledge of sin’. But now the righteousness of God can only come through faith in Jesus Christ.

            “Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:” – Romans 3:22

            Today, we are justified ‘freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 3:24).

            Knowing how we obtained our salvation is crucial to understanding whether we can lose our salvation. Paul clearly teaches that our salvation is by faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ who was made to be our substitution for death, sin, and judgment (2 Cor 5:21, Romans 3:25, Romans 3:23). Since he paid our fine, and we trust in Christ, God can fairly declare us righteous and give us salvation (Eph 1:13).

            Trying to ‘keep’ our salvation

            The reason that God sent Christ to die on the cross for our sins, was because we could not live lives worthy of obtaining righteousness ourselves. Why then would we think that once we are saved, we can now live lives worthy of God’s righteous judgment without Christ?

            Paul speaks to the Galatians about this issue in Galatians 3:3 and 5:4. After having received the grace of God for salvation, the Galatians were now trying to go back under the law to live their lives for God. Paul says ‘Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.’

            This seems to be a severe statement but is repeated in 1 Corinthians 1:17 to those who were debating over Paul’s baptism. Paul replied regarding these rituals,

            “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” – I Corinthians 1:17
            Paul repeatedly teaches that it is not by our own works of righteousness that we are saved. If it were by our works then Christ died in vain! It follows that if we are not saved by works of righteousness then we can not lose our salvation because of a lack of them.

            Because we are saved by God’s grace, the sole responsibility for producing the works meet for our salvation lies upon Christ and the efficacy of his death on the cross. Our faith alone would be of no effect for salvation only if God was not able to fulfill that which he promised (Romans 4:21). This of course is unbelief of the first degree!

            The whole basis of our salvation is by faith in Christ’s full payment for sins (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:22)!

            Therefore, if we are saved by grace and then determine that we can lose our justified status simply by not acting obediently or following after righteousness, then we are in essence rejecting the cross, ignoring what Christ came to do! We are also denying our present position in our crucified flesh combating its temptations daily.

            As Paul told the Galatians, ‘Christ is become of no effect unto you’. You would have just as much success trying to save yourself without the cross as you would trying to stay saved without the grace of God operating on your behalf.

            The topic of what happens in salvation is an important topic shrouded with confusion by the powers of darkness of this world.

            Understanding what Christ did on the cross for you is the key to changing your life for eternity! Without the grace of God, every man would have no answer for God on judgment day, but would spend eternity in the lake of fire. Don’t rest until you know that you are saved by the grace of God and have eternity secured through the blood of Christ.

            The question should not be ‘Can we lose our salvation by grace?’ Instead it should be, ‘Am I saved by my trust in God’s grace?’

            “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”- Gal 2:21” – Grace Ambassadors

          2. I agree with everything you wrote, Adrienne, but you misunderstood what I wrote. You wrote, “Therefore, if we are saved by grace and then determine that we can lose our justified status simply by not acting obediently or following after righteousness, then we are in essence rejecting the cross, ignoring what Christ came to do!”

            I never said that we are saved by our obedience. We are saved by BELIEVING in what Christ accomplished on the cross and His resurrection for us. Period. But Paul is very clear in Hebrews that we must believe until the end or we will not be saved. The proof of our belief is in our obedience to Christ. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

            Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey!

          3. It’s similar to the parable of the seeds. Some “believed” but they never developed roots so fell away (stopped believing). Others had thorns choke them out and stopped believing and others allowed the cares of the world to take them away from the faith. Finally, some seeds fell on good soil, grew deep roots, and produced fruit; some produced a lot of fruit and others less fruit but they all believed until the end.

      2. Mark 3:28-30 is the only unforgivable sin.
        I’m not sure that unbelief is mentioned as an unforgivable sin, however I know that without belief there is no salvation.

    2. Rebuking and edifying each other is definitely for believers! We can protect each other from harm, and help each other stay on the right path so that we can glorify Christ and bring others to His kingdom. Also, the Lord will reward us for everything we do for Him, even such a small thing as giving someone a glass of water to drink. (Mark 9:41)

  2. These verses in Hebrews are tricky, but consider these two passages…

    Ephesians 1:13-14
    …”having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance…”

    As believers, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and He is the guarantee our our inheritance.
    Also, the Lord Jesus promises that the Spirit will abide with us forever…

    John 14:16
    “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth…”

    So if the “once saved, always saved” belief is not biblical, then either (1) a Spirit-filled person could potentially go to Hell, or (2) the Lord would not keep his “forever” promise, and would take his Spirit from us.

    In the Old Testament David wrote, “Do not cast me away from Your presence,
    And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:11). At that time the Spirit would “come upon” people, usually for a certain task. (Numbers 24:2, Judges 6:34, Judges 14:19, Judges 15:14, 1 Samuel 10:10, and many more.) But since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit now dwells inside us.

    Romans 8:11
    “…He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

    1. “So if the ‘once saved, always saved’ belief is not biblical, then either (1) a Spirit-filled person could potentially go to Hell, or (2) the Lord would not keep his ‘forever’ promise, and would take his Spirit from us.”

      Or (3) they never really believed even though they said they did.

      True believers will believe until the end.

      1. Yes, I think we all agree that there are “fake” believers out there who say they believe, but don’t actually. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

        But I was referring to real believers, and I cling to the Lord’s promise, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth…” (John 14:16).

        Forever is forever. 🙂 The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance. When God guarantees something, we can trust that.

  3. I don’t think “once saved always saved” is anywhere in the Bible. It is said so often these days that I think people may think it is. I have read verses that people get that idea from but I don’t believe the once saved always saved understanding of scripture bares up in all the Bible. I think it may be a surface reading of certain passages if separated from the whole of scripture. Consider Simon the sorcerer. He believed and was baptized but yet he was still in danger of not being forgiven by God.

    12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

    The Sorcerer’s Sin
    14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

    18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

    20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

    24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”

    After a lot of discourse on topics such as these I’ve given up on trying to slap a formula on God and His ways by using catchy statements like “once saved always saved” if scripture doesn’t explicitly state that. Simon the sorcerer is just one of many examples of how God and scripture can’t be bound by surface sayings.

  4. “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.”

    When it talks about perishing, is it referring to physical or eternal death? And when it speaks of not having a “part of portion” does it mean Heaven, or does it mean the apostles’ ministry?

    I hope I’m not stirring the pot, but this is just something that is good to consider too. 🙂

  5. Just one more thing, if I may, and I say this very respectfully.

    If we are not eternally secure once we believe in Christ, then how can any one of us say that we are saved? You never know… we might stop believing somewhere down the road.

    I do agree though, Mrs. Lori, that true believers will believe until the end. That is the quality of someone who is truly saved.

    And thank you for this post. It made me study this issue more in depth. There is always so much to learn, and we can’t even begin to know it all until we get to Heaven. 🙂 I so appreciate your blog.

    1. If you stop believing, you are not saved and probably never were. We must believe until the end. This is made very clear in Hebrews. It’s the only qualification for eternal life. “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

      1. As a Christian, can you say for sure that you will spend eternity with the Lord at this point? Or is there a chance that you may not? If not, what would become of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you?

      2. So you are saying that a person can lose his or her salvation by choosing to reject it? I know people who were very devout Christians in their youth and now no longer believe in God. So they were saved at one time, and then rejected God and basically lost their salvation through their own choice. This makes sense to me since God has granted us free will, and we can always reject the good gifts he gives to us.

        1. Absolutely, Emily. If they lived as “devout Christians” in their youth but completely walked away from their faith, they are not saved and most likely never were. We must believe until the end!

        2. John 10:28-29
          “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
          Are we greater than God?

          “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

          Yes, we have a free will, and receiving Christ has eternal “consequences.” 🙂

          1. No one else can snatch us out of God’s hands, that’s for sure, but we can choose to jump out with our own free will. God’s not going to save a person who doesn’t want to be saved; it’s a choice we all make on a daily basis.

            St Paul says in 1 Cor 9:27, “but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified”(1 Cor 9:27). Similarly, in Phillipians 2:1-2, he repeats, “that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own”. Without doubt, St Paul teaches that a believer can loose his salvation, even considering his own salvation not assured!

          2. As for someone completely rejecting God, I would question whether someone like that had truly been saved in the first place. But if it’s a matter of wandering from the Lord’s ways, “whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” (Heb. 12:6) But we can be “…confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)

            If there are unclear passages, we need to be careful that we don’t base a belief solely on that. There are so many clear ones that would contradict them. We need to interpret the few passages we don’t understand by the many passages that are crystal clear.

            In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul is referring to heavenly reward, not salvation. Running the race for the prize.
            “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (verse 24)

            1 Cor. 3:13-15 also talks about our reward / loss of reward.
            “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

            When receive Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. He is “the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession…” (Eph. 1:13-14)
            The Lord Jesus promised, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth…” (John 14:16-17)

            1 John 5:13
            “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
            We can know… not just hope.

        3. “Once saved, always saved” is not the language of God. But it is effectively a true statement for God has elected His people before the creation of the world; before time and space. You cannot lose your salvation; if someone has no salvation [at the 5:00 hour], they never had it. There is nothing we can do about it. Or is there?

          This, I suggest is the biggest paradox in our walk with Scripture, with Christ …if we remain in the carnal. This paradox is the gap between the finite and the infinite. This is part of how we evidence surrender to God, or not. This is the transition from the carnal to the spiritual.

          Is God in charge or are we in charge? Scripture says have been chosen before we were physically conceived [Eph 1:4,11 John 1:12-13 John 15:16 rom 9:15, etc]. Should we then ignore God and boldly sin ‘so that His grace may abound.’ If we do, does that evidence that we are not elect?

          There is nothing we can do about being elect or not. Nothing. That is in [seeming] direct conflict with God ‘setting before us the choice of life or death’ [Deut 30:19]. What gives? Was Christ’s blood needed or not? Are we “eternally secure” [as ContentWife mentions] or not. I suggest that ‘security’ is a carnal feeling, for if we were in the spirit that thought would not occur to us because we know our heart is in the right place; we are true to self [Rom 12:2], in His Word.

          Can we lose salvation? As Lori notes: no. Can people go in and out of [seeming] salvation? No. They may go in and out of surrender to God’s word, but not to salvation. Each person has until the 4:59pm hour to evidence surrender to the Word; reflect on the parable of the workers as to evidence [even if not to man] of being elect. How many people were [will be] surprised at the robber on the cross joining Christ in paradise …at the 4:59 hr? When we get to heaven we will be surprised at who made it [and who didn’t] for we may not be around for that person’s 4:59 hour – ‘faithful to the end’ [not that we will be conscious of that while being in the incredible, coming glory of the Father!!!].

          If we have any acknowledgement of God, we know we sin. We sin every day, at least in the heart. Paul notes that in himself. The issue is: are we quick to return to God – as the Psalmist often notes, or are we smug in our salvation?

          The notion of suddenly being saved one day, or of suddenly losing your ‘salvation’ by denying God, is bogus. Again, this was determined BEFORE the foundation of the earth. I suggest we rather look at it as ‘surrendering’ to the Word of God or not. We evidence to man that we are the bride of Christ when we surrender to His word, when we keep His commandments [as Lori well notes]. And God then looks on our heart. As a perspective, a woman becomes a wife, not when she says “I do” but when she keeps his commandments. We can claim we are a Christian, but if we don’t keep His commandments, whether seen by man or not, our election is suspect, to self and to all. We are not one with Him.

          There is much scriptural evidence that could fill out this conversation, but let’s keep it simple, for God is not the author of confusion:

          1) Solomon: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for that is the WHOLE duty of man” …nothing more, nothing less.

          2) Jesus: “If you love ME, keep My commandments.” Nothing more, nothing less.

          Come back to “the simplicity that is in Christ.” Simply obey …His every Word.

  6. Well said: Losing friends over confrontation, over ‘hating evil,’ or over ‘proving all things’ IS Love. That is keeping His commandments. God is a God of confrontation, and to our last breath He will confront our sin.

    One of the most dramatic revelations of being ostracized for confronting is Christ’s words recorded by 3 authors:

    “And everyone that hath forsaken houses or brethren, or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for My name’s sake …shall inherit everlasting life” Mt 19:29.

    “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house and brethren or sisters or father or wife or children or land’s for My sake and the Gospel’s , but that he shall receive one hundred fold now …with persecutions…” Mk 10:29.

    And I suggest the most revealing: “If any man come after Me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea, even his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” Luke 14:26.

    This “hate” means that a man cannot put any of these people [or anything] before God, even to the point of being alienated by all of them. Otherwise, it becomes “The Path to a Weak and Sinful Church.”

    Dissecting these [and other] verses briefly is most noteworthy to a healthy and sin-resistant church:

    Jesus is speaking only to men, because ‘husbands’ are not mentioned by Him. Only adult men forsake all else for the Gospel. Only men are disciples. Only men are to ‘hate’ everyone else, when warranted.

    Women don’t ‘hate’ or forsake their husbands for the Gospel, for the Word of God. Women don’t leave the “house” or “children” or “husband” for the Gospel. She lives out the Gospel by obeying her husband. This relates back to the wife DIRECTLY glorifying her husband and not skipping over him to [somehow] glorify Christ – 1 Cor 11:7. A woman forsaking her husband and her house and her children has also contributed to the Pathological Church [in addition to men not confronting sin].

    Scripture is written to men, for men to administer. While women are to desire learning of scripture, of Jesus, men are responsible for the evangelizing and the keeping truthfully all of that scripture …of confronting others with what that truth is …to their alienation from all …’for His sake and the Gospel’s.’

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