Pastor David B. Curtis

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Spiritual Stability - Part 1

Philippians 4:1-3

07/11/1999

Paul closes this book with personal and practical notes. This is very common in Paul's writings; we see this pattern in Ephesians, Colossians and Romans. From here on, in Philippians, we find a more personal tone, although the whole letter is very personal. Paul somewhat shifts his emphasis here, and we see now more presence of the imperative mood - commands.

Philippians 4:1-9 is best taken as a unit on spiritual stability. Stability is: "reliability in withstanding pressure." We need this message today! The church today lacks stability from the leadership on down and we need to heed the command "stand fast."

Philippians 4:1 (NKJV) Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

The words "stand fast" are from the Greek word steko, which is a military term. It means: "to be stationary."

The church will always be under attack, we live in a fallen world. Christ said that the church would have trouble in this world:

John 16:33 NKJV "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Evil men will always oppose the things of Christ. We constantly battle to walk in righteousness. We battle the flesh which is always pulling us down. We all have personal trials and troubles that cause us to break down in terms of trust, or that make us nervous and anxious and cause us to worry, or feel vengeance, or carry bitterness. The family today is under attack, marriage is under attack. We are in a battle on every front, and it is hard to remain stable.

That is what is on Paul's mind here. The Philippian church had their problems, they faced instability just like we do. Instability is not a new problem. Throughout the New Testament Christians are exhorted to stand firm. We are called to be doctrinally stable. James tells us that a double minded man is unstable:

James 1:8 (NKJV) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

He is double minded, he wants God's will and at the same time wants his own will.

Colossians 2:5 (NKJV) For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

Paul tells the Colossians that they are always on his mind and that he desired to see their "good order" which leads to a stable faith. The word "order" is the Greek word taxis, (tax'-is) which could be translated: "discipline."

I think that we all would like to be stronger, to be able to stand firm in any situation. You can equate spiritual strength with maturity, godliness, or Christlikeness. There are levels of stability, some Christians are more stable than others. Stability comes with maturity and maturity comes with discipline. The disciplined life produces the stable life.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV) But reject profane and old wives' fables, and EXERCISE YOURSELF TOWARD GODLINESS. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

The word Paul uses for "exercise" is the Greek word gumnazo from which we get our word gymnasium. What do you think of when you hear the word gymnasium? Sweat, toil, hard work, or discipline. We could translate gumnazo as discipline. Godliness is not automatic in the Christian's life, it is something that must be worked at, it is something that we must discipline ourselves toward. Discipline is doing what we don't want to do so we can accomplish what we've always wanted. An undisciplined life is an unstable life. Proverbs puts it this way:

Proverbs 25:28 (NKJV) Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.

Without their walls, the ancient cities were subject to attack, and when we are undisciplined, we, too, are subject to attack. If your life is undisciplined, you are like an ancient city with no walls that is very easy to destroy. Instability is not just a sad condition, it is a costly one.

Genesis 49:1-4 (NKJV) And Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days: 2 "Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father. 3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, My might and the beginning of my strength, The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. 4 Unstable as water, you shall not excel, Because you went up to your father's bed; Then you defiled it; He went up to my couch.

Reuben, Jacob's first born, was entitled to leadership and a double inheritance but because of fornication with Jacob's concubine, Bilhah, Reuben lost his privileges. He was spiritually unstable and it cost his privileges. Spiritual instability disqualifies from many things. Spiritual instability is a disappointment. Nobody wants to be unstable. We don't want to fall into temptation.

Who is the most spiritually stable biblical character you can think of? Joseph! Joseph was a picture of stability. He was a rock. No matter what came his way, he remained faithful to God, unswerving in his attitude and walk. Is that type of stability just for biblical characters or can we live like that? I think that it is possible for us to live like that, and the first nine verses of Philippians give us insight in to how to do it. How can we be stable? By following the exhortations that Paul gives the Philippians in chapter 4.

Philippians 4:1 (NKJV) Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

The phrase "stand fast in the Lord" is the dominating verb and theme of these nine verses. Paul knew what the Philippians were going through:

Philippians 1:28-29 (NKJV) and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

They had adversaries and they were suffering. They were being attacked by Judaizers.

Philippians 3:2 (NKJV) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!
Philippians 3:18 (NKJV) For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

They needed to be strong in the midst of it all. They needed to " stand fast." This is the second time that Paul tells them to stand fast. He told them to stand fast in:

Philippians 1:27 (NKJV) Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

"Stand fast" comes from the Greek verb steko. It is a military term which has the idea of being at point in a war, to be stabilized. It was used of a solider who would not budge from his post. Paul is saying, "Stand your ground in the midst of battle, hold your position while under attack. Don't crumble under persecution and compromise. Don't crumble under testing and complain. Don't crumple under temptation and sin. Stand firm and be spiritually stable. Our post is godliness, righteousness, and Christlikeness."

He is calling for loyalty to the Lord. The world is full of Christians on the retreat, Christians living in sin. Well, how are we to stand fast? "In the Lord," this is a call for a Christ centered life, living in dependance upon the Lord and His strength. Three times in the first four verses, he says, "In the Lord." This is how we are to live, "In the Lord."

In Ephesians 6, you find the word "stand" which is the Greek word histemi; steko comes from the perfect tense of histemi. Ephesians 6 clarifies what it means by "In the Lord."

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NKJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

This military metaphor has to do with holding a position while under tremendous attack. This text has special reference to the saints living in the transition period. It is dealing with the battle that was going on between the two covenants. Although it does not directly apply to us, I think we can learn some principles about standing fast from it. Verse 15 gives us what I believe is the key to stability.

Ephesians 6:15 (NKJV) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Shoes are important to stability; if you can't stand, you can't do much of anything. An athlete needs the proper shoes and so does the Christian. Shoes give us stability. The gospel of peace is the good news of the gospel. Man was at war with God, man was an enemy of God. But all those who have trusted Christ and his work on the cross are no longer God's enemies.

Colossians 1:21-22 (NKJV) And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight;
Romans 5:10 (NKJV) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 5:1 (NKJV) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

The good news of the gospel is that through the finished work of Christ, we are at peace with God. God is on our side. We can take everything this fallen world throws at us if we have on the shoes that anchor us in the truth of God's love. I am unmoveable, I am stable in the fact that GOD IS ON MY SIDE. And since God is on my side, I can stand fast. Are you anchored in the fact that God is on your side? This principle is seen in the life of David. David was stable because he knew that God was on his side:

1 Samuel 17:34-37 (NKJV) But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 "Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God." 37 Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"

David's stability came from knowing that God was on his side. God had delivered him from the lion and the bear and he had the confidence that God would deliver him from Goliath.

1 Samuel 17:41-47 (NKJV) So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" 45 Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 "Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."

David's attitude is, "God is on my side, it's His battle." That gave him great stability. Humanly speaking, there is no way David could have ever beaten this giant warrior. David's strength and courage came from his confidence that God was on his side. This is a command, "Stand fast in the Lord." Inherent in the command is the ability to obey. God provides all the power we need when we trust in Him to provide it. We are in a battle in this world and we need to hold our ground, we need to stand firm. Don't compromise, don't complain, and don't sin. Stand firm, God is on our side.

The context of this command is seen in the word "therefore", what is to be said is based upon what has just been said. Because of this-- therefore this. In view of the presence of enemies of the cross of Christ:

Philippians 3:18 (NKJV) For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

This is speaking particularly of Judaizers, and even though we don't have to battle with the Judaizers, there are still many enemies of the cross of Christ today. But I think that the "therefore" points specifically to the beginning of verse 20:

Philippians 3:20 (NKJV) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

"Our citizenship is in heaven" - "Our" is speaking of Paul and the Philippian believers and, in fact, all believers. For all of us who have been born again, our citizenship is in heaven. The word "is" is the Greek word huparcho which expresses the continued state of a thing; it is unalterable and unchangeable. It speaks of a fixedness. Our citizenship is fixed in heaven, it is unalterable and unchangeable - "Therefore"stand fast in the Lord.

Philippians 3:21 (NKJV) who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Paul now reminds the Philippians and us that the same power that transformed our bodies is available for our stability. The same power that gave you immortality is available to give you stability. The "therefore" forges a link between God's power and our stability. We are citizens of heaven, God is on our side, His power is available to us -- therefore stand fast!

Let me just say here that if you don't have the assurance of your salvation, you won't be able to stand fast. If you're not sure that God is on your side, you won't be able to stand fast in the heat of the battle. If you are not sure about your citizenship, you're not going to try to live in a manner worthy of that country. Where do you get your assurance? Do you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ? If you do, that is your assurance.

1 John 5:1 (NKJV) Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

This verse is not saying that if we believe we will be born again. It is saying that the person who believes, believes because he "has been" born again. The biblical teaching is that "regeneration precedes faith." Only when God gives you eternal life can you believe. So if you believe the gospel, it is because you have been born again. Your faith is your assurance. Calvin said, "Assurance is of the essence of faith." The assurance that we belong to Christ gives us the stability to stand fast in every situation.

Philippians 4:1 (NKJV) Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

Notice here that before Paul commands, he commends. He almost gets gushy here. Paul cared very much for the Philippians, he says they were his beloved and those he longed to be with. "Beloved" is from the Greek word agapetos, it is used of a deep and abiding love. This word is used by the Father to address the Son:

Matthew 3:17 (NKJV) And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Then Paul uses this word again after the command. Twice he calls them his beloved. He also calls them his "longed for" which is the Greek epipothetos. This adjective is only used here, but the verb form is used in 1:8 and 2:26 of Philippians. It refers to the deep pain of separation. If you have ever had to be separated from your loved ones, you know this longing. You service families understand this longing.

Paul also calls them his "joy." The Philippians were a source of joy for Paul. Paul's joy didn't come from circumstances but from the spiritual progress of those to whom he ministered. Paul says this same thing in:

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 (NKJV) For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

John expresses this same idea in:

3 John 1:4 (NKJV) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Paul also calls them his "crown." The word "crown" is from the Greek word stephanos. It was a wreath awarded to the victor at an athletic contest. Stephanos is used in:

1 Corinthians 9:25 (NKJV) And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

It is also used of a wreath which guests were crowned with when they sat at a banquet, at some time of great joy. Paul is saying that the Philippian Christians would be regarded as his reward, the seal of his apostleship (1 cor. 9:2), the proof that his labor had not been in vain in the Lord. I think that every pastor and every teacher finds joy in the faithful people, those who stand fast in the Lord.

In the midst of this strong emotional love is a command, "stand fast in the Lord." Paul wanted them to be spiritually stable. How are they to do this? Paul says, "So stand fast in the Lord." "So" is the adverb houtos which means: "in this way." Then in verses 2-9, he gives six basic, practical principles for spiritual stability. They are Unity, Joy, Humility, Faith, Gratitude, and Right Thinking. When your life is characterized by these virtues, you will be spiritually stable. Let's look at the first one.

1. STAND FAST BY MAINTAINING PEACE OR UNITY.

Philippians 4:2-3 (NKJV) I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

Our stability is dependant on the associations that we have. I become less stable in isolation from other believers. It's when we are alone that temptation is the strongest. The fellowship of believers gives us great stability through accountability.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NKJV) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

"Hold fast" is a call to spiritual stability. We are to help each other to hold fast through our exhorting one another to love and good works. When I talk about accountability, I'm not referring to just asking someone if they have read their Bible that week, or if they have spent time in prayer. That is a part of accountability, but I'm talking about holding people accountable for their actions. When we see someone acting in a sinful manner, we lovingly confront them with their sin. We really need each other's help to maintain a stable walk. Who in your life holds you accountable? If you can't think of anyone, you are in a dangerous place. We need each other.

Paul now identifies a problem in the Philippian church. That problem was a conflict between two of the ladies in that church. Conflicts cause instability. There is great stability in unity and peace, standing together against a common enemy.

Spiritual stability is related to the attitudes that you have, it's not related to your circumstances, it's related to how you think. So, Paul is going to teach us how to think. Primarily, it is how you think about God that will control your spiritual life.

Philippians 4:2 (NKJV) I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

Paul exhorts these two women, Euodia, and Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. Euodia means: "prosperous journey." And Syntyche means: "pleasant acquittance or happy chance." Dr. Ironside called them Odious and Soon Touchie. Paul exhorts them to "be of the same mind." Their disagreement must have been known in the church or Paul would not have dealt with it publicly. Paul is basically saying, "You two women get your act together." This sure seems like a long way from the kenosis of chapter 2. Why does he deal with this issue? Because discord is a deadly threat to the life of the church. Paul has spoken some six times in this letter about unity and now he gets very specific.

Let me say here that division is not always bad and unity is not always good. Division and unity can only be determined to be bad or good depending upon with whom we unite and from whom we separate.

Philippians 1:27 (NKJV) Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

Paul is telling the Philippians here that he wants them to be united so that they can stand against those who oppose the gospel.

James 3:17 (NKJV) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

We must have purity first, then peace. You cannot sacrifice purity for peace. Here, in Philippians 4:2, the division is sinful. This is not a doctrinal issue or Paul would have resolved it. Church conflicts usually come from preferences, not doctrine.

Paul speaks to both of the women and says, "Be of the same mind." "Same mind" is the Greek word phroneo which means: "to think, or have the same attitude." They didn't have the mind of Christ which is set forth in:

Philippians 2:3-5 (NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Conflicts come from two people who are concerned about their own interests. If they both had the mind of Christ, there wouldn't be any problems. Two people who are right with the Lord are right with each other. The Spirit doesn't battle the Spirit. It is the flesh and Spirit that have the conflict.

Who these women were, we don't know. People have come up with all kinds of ideas but all we know for sure is that they were two women.:

Philippians 4:3 (NKJV) And I urge you also, true companion, HELP THESE WOMEN who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

Is it significant that they are women? Maybe! Most of the conflicts that I have seen in the church over the years have been caused by women. Women, as a general rule, seem to have a harder time resolving conflicts and forgiving then men do. Women are more emotional than men and often it's our emotions that get us into trouble. Example: When I was in high school, Cathy and I would often get into arguments. The next day I was always amazed that she was still upset about an argument that happened yesterday. Every once in a while my best friend and I would get into a fight, a fist fight, we would just duke it out. Then the next day he would come over and we would both act as if nothing ever happened. We would both be banged up but we would still be friends. We had settled our disagreements and we went on. I believe, and I could certainly be wrong, but I believe it is a little harder for women to forgive and forget.

In verse three, Paul calls for help from a third party.

Philippians 4:3 (NKJV) And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

How would you like to be these two ladies when this letter was read in front of the whole church? They must have wanted to crawl under their pews. Imagine one of the elders reading this letter and Euodia and Syntyche are sitting there listening. In chapter 3, he reads "our citizenship is in heaven" and Euodia and Syntyche say, "Amen." The elder continues to read, "From which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ," And Euodia and Syntyche say, "We can't wait for the return of our Savior to transform our bodies." Then he starts in to chapter 4, "My brethren, dearly beloved and longed for...." And the ladies are crying, "Oh, Paul loves us so much. I miss Paul, I wish he were here." "My joy and my crown...., Euodia and Syntyche say, "Oh we miss this man." Then he reads, "Stand fast in the Lord." And the ladies say, "We are going to stand fast, we'll do anything for brother Paul." Then the elder reads, "I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche..." They both sit straight up and listen intently. Then the elder reads, "Be of the same mind, get it together women!" These two women must have been shocked, their jaws hit the floor. Here they are in the public meeting and the Word of God is being read and their names are mentioned. For all eternity, their names are in God's Word. Are you glad that the Word of God is finished being written? Do you want your name in here like these ladies?

Paul then asks for help from "true companion." The Greek word here is suzugos, the etymology of the word is: "one who pulls well in a double harness," or "someone who carries a common load." The guesses at who this was are numerous. Who he was, we don't really know but we do know that he was called upon to help. Sometimes it takes a third party to settle a dispute. There is always a grave need for those who can serve as faithful and effective "peacemakers."

Notice what Paul says about these women. He says, "Who labored with me in the gospel." The Greek word he uses for labored is sunathleo, which was used of gladiators who fought side by side against an enemy. Even though these women had a conflict, Paul doesn't lose sight of their good qualities. It is so easy to overlook the good of those having problems. Isn't it amazing that when someone wrongs us or does something that we don't like how quickly we can forget all the positive things they may have done for us? Let's take a lesson here from Paul, and the next time we are upset with someone for what ever reason, let's stop and focus on the good and positive things that they have done for us and the Lord.

These women had labored with Paul in the gospel, they had labored with Clement, they had labored with Paul's other fellow-workers as well. Paul appreciated these women and their labor for the Lord.

Paul says that even though many of these fellow-workers are unmentioned by name in the book of Philippians, they had their names in the "Book of Life."

What is the book of life? It is only mentioned here and in Revelation in the New Testament. Some say that everyone's name is written in the book, and if they do not accept Christ, their name is erased at death. This verse, in Philippians 4:3, makes no sense if everyone alive is in the book of life. What can we learn about this book from Scripture? When are the names written in the book of life?

Revelation 13:8 (NKJV) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

We see here that there are some people who are not written in the book of life. When was Christ slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 17:8 (NKJV) "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

We can see from these verses that some are not in the book of life, and those who are have been there from eternity past. That old Baptist Hymn, "There's a new name written down in glory", is wrong! There are no NEW names written in the book. Those written have been there from the foundation of the world.

We also learn that those who aren't in the book of life are consigned to the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:12 (NKJV) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
Revelation 20:15 (NKJV) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

In Revelation 21:27, we see that only those who are written in the book can enter the New Jerusalem - the New Covenant.

Revelation 21:27 (NKJV) But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

Who chose who goes in the book? God did. When? Eternity past. Why? Because of His good pleasure.

Ephesians 1:4-5 (NKJV) "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

I want you to look at a couple of verses that cause much confusion:

Revelation 22:19 (NKJV) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

This verse does not teach that one could lose one's salvation. Textual critics say that the translation "book" is an error, what it should say is tree of life. This is how the NAS translates it.

Revelation 22:19 (NNAS) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

Another problem verse is:

Revelation 3:5 (NNAS) 'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Christ promises "And I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life." This statement has been the source of controversy for generations. Can a believer lose his salvation? Could one of God's children be blotted out of the book of life? Many erroneous answers have been given to these questions.

Some say that those who have been saved by Christ's redemption, can fall away and be lost forever. This is the classical Arminian position; it is absolutely and categorically denied by Scripture. The nature of the salvation provided by Christ is eternal. Our justification in God's sight is not based on our works but on the perfect, finished righteousness and substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. (See John 3:16, John 10:27-30, and Romans 8:29-30.)

So, what does this mean: "and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life"? This statement employs a figure of speech called "litotes", which is extremely common in literature and in everyday speech. Litotes makes a positive affirmation by negating its opposite. The presence of litotes is often signaled by an obvious understatement. Some examples of litotes are: "that test was no snap", which means the test was hard; or "he's not kidding", which means he's telling the truth, or "a fact of no small importance" which means a fact of great importance. There is no explicit statement in Scripture that anybody will have his name blotted out of the book of life. The Lord is saying that believers are absolutely secure. If we believe the gospel, we can be assured that our names are written in the book of life, and that we will live eternally in the presence of the Lord. God's heavenly Church membership roll has existed from the foundation of the world, eternal and immutable.

Believer, we are called to be spiritually stable, to stand fast in righteousness and holiness. One of the ways we do this is by maintaining our unity. We are to be of the same mind. God has designed the members in the body of Christ to be dependant upon one another. United we stand fast, but divided we fall.

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