Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Bernie Dake.
And I'm Cheryl Gillum. There is a good chance that someone out there may be hearing this show for the first time, and maybe you didn't know that The Salvation Army was a church. You are the main reason we are currently in this series called We Believe. It's an 11-week series that began in January studying The Salvation Army's Articles of Faith, or their doctrines, of which there happens to be 11. This has been a chance for us to spell out our faith, especially to those of you who aren't Salvationists. And Salvationists are those members of The Salvation Army Church, right?
That's how we were just using terms that I'm sure people are not familiar with. So we know this is probably very interesting to you, especially when a lot of times all you do is see the ringing of the bells or the thrift stores. But honestly, we do all of that because of what we believe, right? Those are ways to help us to fund the ministry of The Salvation Army, and the mission of The Salvation Army, the ministry of The Salvation Army, is to preach the gospel, which really is articulated in these Articles of Faith, or the doctrines of The Salvation Army. And this week, Colonel Dan Sterrett discusses the doctrine that we believe that to continue in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.
Okay. Just for the record, this one was always confusing to me as a child, particularly as a teenager when I was too busy worrying about anything else that was going on that day. But now as an adult, I get it. The Salvation Army is a holiness movement, right? So we believe that to stay in salvation, you have to remain obedient in Christ. So you can sin after asking God into your heart, asking Him for forgiveness, and that kind of puts a separation between you and God. And that is something that theologically we differ with than maybe our Baptist friends or other denominations. But it doesn't mean that God doesn't love you or that you can't ask for forgiveness again.
But we're just trying to show you the idea that it does take work to stay safe. Well, the thing is this is a relationship. All these are based on a relationship between the Father and us, between God and us, right?
And so if I have a fight with my husband and we don't... We just kind of end it with, it's sour and I'm going this way and he's going that way, I mean, there's been a separation there, right? We have to come back and there needs to be this forgiveness towards each other and all that. So I mean, this is what we believe that the Bible says in regards to our relationship with Christ is that daily faith, that daily obedience that keeps us in right relationship with Him.
Amen. Welcome to our continuing study of Salvation Army doctrine and its application to our everyday life. Let's look at doctrine number nine. We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ. Doctrine number nine is very close to the teaching of doctrine eight.
The primary focus of doctrine number nine is one, our salvation in Christ, and then follow several other doctrines. The keywords related to salvation here are regeneration, faith, repentance, justification through Christ's blood, atonement, and it's all because of God's amazing grace. There are people who attend church or a rally or a camp meeting or some evangelistic crusade like Billy Graham did. They hear an invitation to confess their sin and come forward and they receive Christ as their Savior, and they do. But then they believe that whether they have said a prayer or came to an altar or were once baptized, there's no further action response or other spiritual qualities they need to develop in their life. Okay, I said it. I'm saved.
Now I'm done. There are also those who come to Christ, remain faithful for a while, and then fall away, what we call backsliding. The assurance of our faith is no guarantee for us against our free will. It is possible to cease to obey Christ and forfeit our hope of eternal life. The grace of God that led us to freely receive also allows us to freely reject. Our Christian life must be a combination and commitment of faith and obedience.
Those are key words there. As we are willing to be led by God the Holy Spirit, we must also be obedient to God the Holy Spirit. It's continued obedient faith.
See, the words continue. When the relationship is broken, backsliding is possible for even true Christians. It can also be identified as unresponsiveness or opposition to the will and ways of God.
It can take many forms. It can look like behavior or it can also be the deliberate rejection of Christ or get more subtly and gradually like drifting in a boat. You ever been in a boat that all of a sudden starts to drift and you don't even know it. It's so subtle.
It's so quiet. It is slowly drifting moving away from its proper anchor. And the next thing you know, you are far from where you ever were and wondered, how did I get there? How did I move away from these proper anchors within the Bible and prayer and church fellowship with other believers to get where I am? That's a challenge today folks in society when we start listening to all kinds of things on television, radio, and other things and believe everything that people say. See, scripture says test improve. Everything must be based in the Word of God.
Please be careful. But another word that helps describe backsliding is neglect. When you neglect the fire, it'll burn out.
When you neglect people in relationships, they can begin to grow cold and distant and soon can die or be so lifeless they seems like they're dead. When we know what to do what is right and don't do it, the Bible calls it sin. Hebrews chapter 10 verses 19 through 39 dramatically address deliberate and continuously choosing to do what is wrong and its consequence.
Every sin is not backsliding, but every time we sin, we begin to slide away from the grace of God and our fellowship with him. Remember, doctrine number nine states that as we have and maintain continued obedient faith in Christ, we must continue in our state of salvation, which continues into a life of discipline and holiness. The key words in this doctrine is continuous and ongoing.
It just is just stop and start and stop and start. It continues as it goes along. Our continued obedient faith in Christ is reflected by our commitment to study God's word, be much in prayer, enjoy fellowship with others, and surrender to the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The daily pressures and temptations and distractions of life and the tools of Satan will then be recognized and attacked with the help of God the Holy Spirit. That's why we're in a spiritual battle. So there are essential factors that must be daily evident, nurtured, and developed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The two main key words in doctrine nine mark continued. This indicates an active, vibrant, sensitive, obedient spirit to God's calling, to God speaking and working in our lives. Hebrews 13 21 says, may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, in us, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever. Amen. We can't live this way on our own. And when we try, it's frustrating, burdensome, impossible, and we tend to give up and take back control of our lives rather than being open, sensitive, and obedient to the Holy Spirit. It is possible to live a victorious life in Christ. Our salvation is neither a state to be preserved, nor is it an insurance policy that requires no continuous investment. Second Peter 3 17 and 18 says, you already know these things.
Dear friends, so be on guard. Then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Verse 19 goes on, rather you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wouldn't it be terrible to see children who never grew up?
They stayed two years old forever. That's what happens when we don't grow in grace and in a continuous state with Christ. Our being in a continuous state of salvation means being aware of our relationship with Christ. Is our salvation continuing to grow and develop? How about the increase in depth of our Bible knowledge, our faith, and our obedience? As doctrine eight stated, we have the witness in ourselves that once again clearly means that we know if our spiritual life is growing or is stagnant, dying, or dead.
Where are you today? We know if we have drifted and are no longer in the state of obedient faith, but we're just going through the motions. We put on our uniform or we go to church like we always did.
We carry our Bible like we always had. We may look alive, but we know within ourselves that we are not obedient to the Lord Jesus and we've taken back control of our own life. One of the most tragic conditions is to be faking, imitating, living falsely before others and the Lord when we know that we have lost the joy of our salvation. Psalm chapter one and verse 12, David pleads with God, restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Well, as we consider pick and choose, it seems that people want their salvation to continue and to grow and to have greater influence and joy, but they don't want to work at the condition of continued obedient faith, which means daily prayer, daily Bible reading, continuous fellowship with other believers.
That's what produces our continued obedient faith. It's having faith goals where we work together with Christ. They must all come together to join and produce an effective life in Christ.
Try to separate them and neither work correctly. God bless you. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support.
And we'd love to hear from you. Email us at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org. Call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at P.O.
Box 29972, Atlanta, Georgia 30359. Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews, and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake, inviting you to join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life.
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