• Joseph Durso

Be Warned and Comforted

After speaking to a dear brother, I realized that some people reading about Solomon might not understand that God can use the unsaved as he does the saved. So for one week, we will deviate from our current series. God delights to use people with clean hands and a pure heart. Nevertheless, don't be naive; we live in a sinful world, God even uses Satan to further His Holy purposes. It is essential to understand God's sovereignty to use whoever He wills to fulfill His purpose-filled ends. There are very godly people, who are also sinners saved by grace, and there is Judas Iscariots, masquerading as angels of light.

The Warning of People who Creep in Unnoticed (Jude 4)

At Corinth, the Church was vibrant, filled with people gifted in ministry who could proclaim God's word; and had been called out of the world's ugly culture. After writing three letters and observing the Church repent of their false liberty and lustful ways, he wrote to them.

"Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:5)

It is scary to consider it possible to possess wisdom and even speak for God and be lost. A person can be deceived to such an extent.

For this reason, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? 'And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; LEAVE ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’" (Matthew 7:21, 22)

It is not those who assume salvation because they understand a creed or partake in Christian activities that are in the faith. It is those upon whom God imparts His saving love - that is what it means to be known by Him. If you do not believe a man moved by the Holy Spirit to speak for God can be lost, consider the following scriptures.

Numbers 22-24 is the story of the prophet Balaam. The phrase, "Then the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth..." is repeated. Also, "and the Spirit of God came upon him ...Then he took up his discourse and said..." clearly indicates Balaam as speaking for God. If you read his prophecies, they are accurate and true.

We are further told. "The sons of Israel also killed Balaam the son of Beor, the diviner, with the sword among the rest of their dead." (Joshua 13:22) Divination is demonic, and Israel was obedient to Deuteronomy 18 by putting Balaam to death.

"The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so." (Deuteronomy 18:14)

The Apostle Paul has not written in vain, "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14)

In the early eighties, we visited a Church for Missionary Internship, in Detroit Michigan. There we heard from a Church pastor who told us after graduating from seminary and called to a Church. He became convicted of his sins and saved while preaching one of his own sermons. If you think such a thing to be impossible, you may be struggling with idolatry. Salvation is of the Lord, and He can use whatever vessel He chooses through which to work.

In the two-volume set, GEORGE WHITEFIELD, By Dallimore, the story is told of a man who use to mock George. The Godly preacher endowed with unusual unction from God was also cross-eyed. The man had parts of his sermons memorized with scriptures included.

One time he got up on a Tavern chair and began mocking George for the crowd. During the entertainment, he became convicted of his sins, repented, and came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Eventually, he went into the ministry, where he served faithfully until he went to be with the Lord.

The Comfort of Assurance

Faith is the factor that changes man's works into God's grace. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17) Three factors must be present for salvation to occur—one, the Holy Spirit inspired word of God, two, the blood of Christ, and three, God-given faith.

The Holy Spirit imparts assurance, He cannot change, and He does not lie, and He plants His Word in the heart of those the Father chooses. Faith is a gift, The Son's sacrifice is a gift, the Word of God is a gift, and by definition, grace is a gift to the undeserving.

When a person rests in salvation as a gift (Hebrews 4), he has received what God has already done. Worry dissipates inside the child of God that receives assurance of salvation. His security is not dependent upon a concept of salvation as perceived in others like Solomon or any other saint of God. It is entirely reliant on God alone.

Assurance of salvation is equally a gift of God. "In whom you also trusted, after that, you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13, 14).

The sealing is not for God as if He needed something to remember those bought by the death and sufferings of His beloved Son. In this case, we receive the Holy Spirit, who makes the promises of God so personal and relevant that we become assured of our salvation. In turn, we become able to receive truths like Balaam and possibly even a Solomon as having been used so extensively but maybe outside the saving hand of God.

As for me, I will not be surprised to see Solomon in the kingdom one day, as I understand and accept the grace of God to be that big. However, neither would I be surprised to see him missing, as God's sovereignty is equally enormous.

"Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver implements, but also implements of wood and of earthenware, and some are for honor while others are for dishonor." (2 Timothy 2:20)

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