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One must first be willing, before there can be doing, and depending upon one’s understanding and maturity there can be quite a time elapse between the two! Of all that God reveals in His Word concerning obedience, nothing is of greater significance than that of love to others, esp. the agape love of God in the believer—to other believers (Jhn 15:12; Gal 6:10). Christians can have an overwhelming desire for the love of God, and have yet to learn its walk of practicality, so as to traverse beyond mere desire (will).
God gives the desire to do “His good pleasure” to all who are reborn, thus keeping them in His hand (Jhn 19:29), and eventually “conforming” them to a mature “image of Christ” (1Th 5:24). There is today a prevalent conception among many professing Christians that one in whom God is “working” can refuse this work within and choose to return to one’s own ways.
But does not this understanding challenge the capability of God to continue to give (“work in you”) one the desire for “His good pleasure?” It is vastly more sensible to conclude this to manifest the absence of God, rather than to conceive that one who is reborn can “resist” (only possible by those who choose to remain unregenerate – Act 7:51) the graceful work of God within. I cannot understand this type of confusion, seeing that God is “working in you” to avoid the possibility of not desiring “His good pleasure.”
Granted, there are many Biblical passages that appear to present such an illusory concept, but I believe they are for the purpose of testing the intentions of believers towards one another when they have varying beliefs in their present understanding concerning a doctrine; and that it requires us to be more consistent in seeking the truth of any issue, esp. that of spiritual growth. Let’s use one of the popular passages of this subject for an example, and if anyone desires to present others, we will go over them also:
2Pe 2:20 “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”
“Escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord”: I see this as a reference to the attempt to ease a guilty conscience through knowledge without application, i.e. saving face via a false profession of faith to appear outwardly truthful. There is a degree of peace that results even from one “saying” he has faith (Jam 2:18), yet the lifestyle eventually manifests otherwise (v 17), which are “works that deny Him” (Tit 1:16).
Those who only have knowledge of Christ and His truths, but not the saving experience of such, inevitably demonstrate the truth of their false profession—for “your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23). The latter state of one having knowledge of truth and not accepting it is worse than one ignorant of it. Hence the latter state being worse than the first (Mat 11:23, 24; 21:28-31; Luk 12:47; Jhn 9:41; 15:22). An unregenerate soul is in a poor way, and continuing in an unregenerate state after learning the truth to resolve it is in even a worse state.
This parallels Hebrews 10:26, which is continuing to choose to live in sin, even after “receiving the knowledge of the truth.” Notice it is not “receiving the truth,” but rather only “the knowledge of the truth.”
I would appreciate it much if others would provide more Scriptures of this sort that gives the appearance of losing salvation, so we can address all of them. The matter of this truth is of the utmost importance, not in relation to being saved, but concerning spiritual growth in our faith.
Thanks ahead of time!
God’s blessings to your Families, and God be blessed!!