Q. I concur that the work of the Cross was and is sufficient to remove the stain of sin in any and all souls, but what happens with those repetitive sins that are not repented of (turning away from)? OSAS gives argument to the devil’s claim in Job that Job only does it because he has no choice. God did protect his life that he might repent and be forgiven for it, but it would have been Job’s choice to do so.
I believe salvation will come at the end of this life and no being can forcibly take that hope from you, but life is your profession of faith in Christ. Faith is action not mental acceptance. James ask the question “Where’s your faith if you are not living it?” Can a belief that shows no trust save a person? How can you claim to wish a person well while you, having what they need, will not give it to them?
When God called me into the ministry of the Gospel, He did so from Isaiah 58:1, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” It is not my desire to prove you wrong and myself right but that it is only the righteous (obedient, sometimes through repentance) that will inherit the kingdom. If I am wrong then we have not lost anything, but if I am right, then some will loose everything.
A. I agree with some of what you say. However the word repent does not mean to turn away from something but to change one’s mind about it. We can’t legitimately ask to be saved from our sins until we change our mind and agree that our behavior is sinful. But no where are we told that we have to stop sinning before we can qualify for salvation.
A primary rule of interpretation is that we use clear verses to interpret obscure ones. The clearest verses in the New Testament associate salvation with belief, never with behavior. A change of behavior often comes later at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but never to the point where we can be considered righteous. Our righteousness comes only through faith and that’s what qualifies us for eternity. (Romans 4:5) In fact it’s because we’re sinners that we need to trust God. If we could make it on our own, Jesus didn’t have to die.
As far as there being no harm if you’re wrong, that’s true as long as you apply it only to you. But when you start teaching others, you must be absolutely certain you are correct in interpreting what the Bible says, otherwise you’ll be held accountable. (James 3:1) The clearest interpretation of Scripture is that we’re saved because of what we believe (John 3:16) and that our place in eternity is guaranteed by God Himself, from the first moment of belief, not after our life is over. (Ephes. 1:13-14) Since the Bible is God’s word and can’t be contradictory everything else on the matter of salvation has to be understood in that context. The Lord knew every sin of your life before you committed the first one and took them all to the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). The moment you accepted that and received your pardon you were free because by His one sacrifice he made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebr. 10:14). Being made, not making themselves.