Ezekiel 18:31-32 “Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die…? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”
Rebellion against God does not originate from God. However, He has predetermined what the end of those shall be who rebel against Him–it is death. No one knows how long they will have to “turn” and stop rebelling against God. This is why it is so important to recognize right now where you stand before the Lord. Tomorrow may not come and if it does, perhaps you will not have any fear of the Lord left and will find yourself with no ability to believe.
Salvation begins and ends with God. He has determined what it takes for you to be saved, how you are saved, and what happens after you are saved. Our responsibility is to “turn”. He then cancels His judgment based on your decision. If we thought it was possible to “lose our salvation”, would we act differently? Of course we would. But there are so many people who are banking so heavily on the grace of God that they fall right back into lives of sin and idolatry, only honoring God with their lips, and expect no judgment for what they are doing.
The burning question is: Did these people REALLY turn from their sin?
Unfortunately, God does not honor meaningless commitments, and the concept of cheap grace is a faulty view of Scripture. According to Ezekiel, “the soul that sins shall die”. In the context, this of course applies to a single sin, but is most accurately understood as a mindset towards God. Conversely, the soul that turns shall live. Does this mean that this soul will never sin again? No. But there were ceremonial laws that they were to follow in the Old Testament period if one had sinned which indicated their heart for God and desire for repentance.
*Today things are different in one key way–the need to sacrifice for one’s sin. Note that repentance remains the same.
After the death and resurrection of Christ, there was no longer a need for sacrificing animals for sin, but the need for repentance remained. The lamb of God was sacrificed once and for all, doing away with the sacrificial system He had previously implemented. The grace of God has been consistent throughout all of history, but it completed the law whenever Christ died on the cross. Grace covers the old sacrificial system. Grace is His and he gives to us. It is not ours to wield as we see fit. We benefit from it, but it changes nothing in how we are to respond to God in light of our sinfulness. We must constantly repent for wrongs we commit, or else, be in danger of death. If you thought that your lack of repentance would result in your soul actually dying and going to hell, would you as a Christian start repenting more? I would hope so. At minimum, what this concept tells us that even if your eternal destiny is not in danger, your life on this earth is. In other words, as a Christian, you should expect no quarter from the laws of this world because you belong to Jesus. You should expect the same judgment as everyone else.
But this concept is something to be very mindful of. In fact, it is of the utmost importance. The heart that is for Jesus will not want to sin. Does that characterize you? Do you despise sin and eagerly seek to repent and turn from it? If not, you better do it now or should feel as if you are in danger of death. Does that mean that every time you sin you are in danger of going to hell, even if you have believed in Jesus? No. But this is so important…the one who truly believes in Jesus will want to repent when they do sin! If you don’t want to repent, you should ask yourself if you really believe in Jesus! If you find yourself not wanting to repent, ask God for a new heart and a new spirit, and to save you from your unbelief! What else can you do?