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- Jacob Ninan
People have a habit of quoting certain verses from the Bible while neglecting to note certain other verses which don't appeal to them. For example, it is nice to look at the promises from God and ignore His commandments. This kind of approach will lead us to an imbalanced life, because spiritual truths are to be balanced by other spiritual truths in order to give us a full picture. Let us look at some examples.
The Bible tells us that when we come to God through faith we become 'dead to sin' (Ro.6:4,5). We read that if we are dead to sin we are freed from sin (v.7). If we quote only from here we may conclude that we don't have to worry about sin anymore because now we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. But if we keep reading, we see God telling us not to let sin reign in our life and not to present our bodies to sin (vv.12,13). Now, if we don't take care of this, can we expect that sin will actually stop ruling our life as given in v.14? Actually, when we became dead to sin, what happened was that our earlier willingness and desire to sin were taken away. Now the new man which God has created in us makes us want to stop sinning and to live in a way that is pleasing to God. We won't understand this unless we read all these verses (and many other verses in the Bible) together.
Another example is where we see that we have been given 'eternal' life (1Jn.5:13) and no one can take us away from the Father's hands (Jn.10:29). There are several verses that tell us about the eternal security of the believer. But several other verses like Re.3:5 (telling us about the possibility of one's name being erased from the Book of Life after being there), and 1Co.10:1-12 (warning us not to perish after coming to the Lord) say that we can't take our salvation for granted. If we study all these verses together we can learn that God does not intend to lose us after we have come to Him, but that, because of our free will, we can choose to neglect this salvation (He.2:3) and go back to a life of sin. This is the balanced view.
A major wrong concept that gains hold of many believers is that once God has accepted us and made us His children we shouldn't have to do anything except to receive everything from His hands 'by faith'. Anything someone says we need to 'do' is considered as 'works' and hated more than sin! This is because we don't understand that even though justification (God declaring us righteous) is purely by God's unmerited favour, sanctification (God actually making us righteous in practical life) requires our cooperation.
But our fleshly nature prefers to listen to and take ideas that comfort us, soothe us and make us feel nice and secure. But this is a false sense of security. Once we understand this and look at the New Testament with an open mind, we can see a whole lot of passages that tell us what we need to do from our side and how we ought to be careful to obey God now that He has accepted us with an undeserved favour.