If you remember, in a previous post, “Touch-stone Scriptures”, (01-28-16), I said I had certain scriptures that are my favorites for one reason or another. This one falls under at least three categories: convicting, teaching and reassuring.
[James 19-20. NLT] My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
The author of this scripture is James, the brother of Jesus. It is a very important scripture to me. Why? Because there was a period in my life when I wandered away from God’s truth. It was a sordid period, and I am not going into the details―too much like “looking over my shoulder.” So. let’s just say, I was lost in worldly attractions.
Wow! I just had an epiphany. It was during this period that I was a pilot in the Air Force. And, any pilot will tell you, “…pilots never get lost. We may become temporarily disoriented as to our exact location; but we are never, ever, …lost.” So, now that we have that straightened out, …I will tell you I was, “temporarily disoriented” in relation to God’s truth―for oh, …13-years!
Bible scholars disagree on whether or not it is possible to lose your Salvation once you have gained it. And, I leaned to the “…is not possible” side of the discussion. But, James certainly seems to say, “…it is possible”. And, I can’t ask him for clarification. But, this I know. One night, about 39-years ago, God spoke to me, …and it wasn’t a dream. No one else was in the house. I was awake. And, I (audibly) heard His voice, …as clearly as could be. In eight words, He made it clear that I needed to critically examine my life.
It was not a command. However, I believed then―and to this day―had I ignored His “question”, my heart would have become hardened.2 As it was, I was hanging by my finger-nails, …over Hell; and it was my last opportunity to get myself back under God’s will.
Thankfully, God had gotten my full attention! And, within minutes I was deep in evaluating my life; praying; begging for forgiveness; asking for the cleansing of my heart; re-dedicating myself to God’s plan for my life; and seeking guidance on how to proceed.
I could fill books, describing the blessings God has bestowed on me during the last 39-years. Never-the-less, if God had not given me any blessings other than that visit, I would still be over-joyed. I owe him everything―including my eternal life.
Thank you again Father, for visiting me that night so many years ago. The amazing thing about it was, I wasn’t looking for you. I was way too busy wrapped-up in my personal mountain of troubles. I didn’t have a clue. Yet, you sought me out and pointed me back to your Son.
Thank you Jesus, for forgiving me and cleansing me of a mountain of sin. You prepared me for restoration to Your Holy Family, and eternal life. Thank you also, Jesus, for standing with me as I worked through that mountain of troubles that I had brought upon myself.
Now, Father, I pray for all those who have fallen away; but can yet be saved. Reach out to them Father. Give them another opportunity to see your Light of Love and Salvation. In the name of your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
1. Scripture quotations marked [NLT] are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
2. Hardening of the heart is referred to many places in the Bible. God allows a person’s (or even a nation’s) heart to become “calloused” or “unfeeling”. The literal result of a hardened heart is the individual (individuals) can no longer hear God’s, or the Holy Spirit’s, call. Therefore, they cannot be used by God; and thus, they have no value to God. And if I’m reading James correctly, they are headed for eternal separation from God. AKA, Hell. (See: Ps 95:8, Matt 13:15, John 12:20, Eph 4-18 and Heb 3:8).