“Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).
Paul here states quite clearly that it is possible to receive the grace of God in vain. This will come as a shock to the scribes and philosophers who contaminate the western Christian Church and who have uniformly adopted the doctrine of “once saved always saved”. But if you receive the grace of God in vain, then surely you cannot be saved! The lawless patterns established in the Corinthian Church were also embedded in Galatia and have trickled down through history to the traditional evangelical Church of today.
“…..you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
“Unconditional Grace” is a common teaching today. Perhaps it springs from the heresy of purchased indulgences that was a corrupt practice of the Catholic Church from the twelfth century. If so, in distancing itself from the corruption of a market in indulgences, the reformed Church sprang too far. Certainly there is nothing man can do to earn or deserve grace; it is a free gift entirely, given of God. But that is not to say there are no conditions attaching to the gift. Indeed, the New Testament scriptures are littered with subjunctive verbs which, by definition, express a conditional promise as in, for example;
“If you ask anything in My name I will do it” (John 14:14). Here the condition is that you ask, and ask in His name; that is, you ask what and as He would ask.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:15-16). The verb “love” is in the subjunctive and the condition attaching to the promise of another helper is that you love Him and keep His commandments.
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Once again, “love” is in the subjunctive; the promise is of divine residence within and the condition is loving Christ and keeping His word.
“If one should not remain in Me, he is thrown away like the branch and is withered and they gather them together and throw them into the fire and they are burned” (John 15:6). The subjunctive condition is to “remain” or “abide” in Him, and the promise of burning is applied to the failure to do just that.
“If you abide in Me, and My rhema in you, request whatever you may wish and it will become to you” (John 15:7). Here is the positive side of the same situation; to the one abiding and obeying, his wishes are granted; to the unfaithful, he is thrown away and cast into the fire.
Examples abound in the scriptures implying that there are conditions attaching to believers if they are to inherit the kingdom.
“You are my friends if you do what I command you (John 15:14).
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (John 15:10).
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you” John 15:16). Put another way, If you bear fruit and if your fruit should remain, then you will be given what you ask.
“If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
“if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).
“…..much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns from heaven” (Hebrew 12:25).
“….and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38)
“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26).
“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).
“If” is the most important word in the Bible; it warrants serious study!