Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12
In 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, Paul reminded the church at Corinth about the sins of the Old Testament Israelites that followed Moses through the wilderness. He urged them to not make the same mistakes they did, summing it up with the warning shown above in verse 12. This is a warning Christians would do well to think about from time to time. Upon receiving salvation through God’s grace as they come out of the waters of baptism (Mark 16:16), disciples of Christ must never think there is no danger of going to hell for eternity. Remember, Jesus commanded us to observe all he commanded after baptism (Matthew 28:19-20).
Paul urged Christians to “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” and to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2). In other words, saints must give their entire lives to God. The Bible teaches that there is more to salvation than just getting saved and going to church. When we start thinking otherwise, we are in danger of falling away.
Throughout the history of God’s people, the danger of falling away has always been present. Jesus warned, “If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned” (John 15:6). The writer of Hebrews warned us twice of the dangers of falling away from God through evil, unbelieving hearts (Hebrews 3:12) and willful, unrepentant sin that makes Christ’s sacrifice for sins invalid as far as we are concerned (Hebrews 10:26-31). We must always be examining ourselves to see that we are truly righteous in the sight of God and have not fallen away from his ways (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Examine what Jesus did when He was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). He knew God’s Word (vs. 4, 7, 10), which kept Him from succumbing to sin. God said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea. 4:6). When you does not have knowledge of the word of God, you don’t know what God’s will is. Sin is unavoidable. A lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse (Acts 17:30). Having knowledge of God’s Word is the first step towards solving the problem of falling away.
James wrote that “faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:17), and, “One who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (4:17). Once again, this is a problem many within the church face. How many of us who do study our Bibles regularly can confidently say we know God’s will…and yet do we obey it? When biblical truth is being preached on Sundays, how many of us say “Amen!” and yet do not practice that truth in our lives? It is like if you’re sick, and you go to the doctor. He gives you a prescription, you fill the prescription, take it home, read the instructions, understand them…and yet do not follow them. Even though you have knowledge of what to do to get well, will you well without using that knowledge? It is the same with having knowledge of the Bible. We must practice what we are taught. Otherwise, falling away from the faith and back into sin is unavoidable…and eternal hell is that much closer.
Take advantage of every single opportunity to grow in knowledge of the word. I’d like to encourage you to come to the 10:00 Bible classes on Sunday mornings as well as the 11:00 worship service at the Calhoun Church of Christ, as well as the 7 p.m. Bible study on Wednesdays. Take notes and ask questions. And then go home and study some more.
Finally, make sure that you are using the knowledge of God’s Word which you have daily. When that happens, you’d be amazed at how quickly a Scripture will come to mind when Satan tempts you to sin, and that will make it that much easier to, like our Lord, command Satan to leave (Matthew 4:10).