THE STRUGGLE WITHIN
Some think the rapture comes before the tribulation. Others think it comes after.
I believe in the doctrine of "once saved, always saved". That doctrine is based on the premise, that once you commit your life to Christ, as God has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you". ~ Hebrews 13:5b
Some people believe in the doctrine that one can fall from grace and need to be saved again and again.
Glory was a legend in the Alabama hills.
Famous for her moonshine and the quality distilled.
If you had arthritic tingents for monetary gain
She'd sell you corn whiskey for the pain.
But come camp meetin' time
O, Glory, how she'd shine.
They called her 'Shoutin' Glo' at meetin' time.
Shoutin' "Glory, glory, I am saved, Hallelujah!"
One week in the summer, she would walk that line!
Come the second Monday in the month you'd hear her cry,
"Camp meetin's over grab a jug, let's have a time!"
Those lyrics to a rather obscure bluegrass song by Red, White, and Bluegrass, describe a false interpretation of what I call the, "fall from Grace" doctrine
Both Doctrinal beliefs are problematic in much the same way.
One could take advantage of the "once saved" doctrine, by returning to their old life because they are now confident they are safe from God's ultimate judgment. I submit that he who practices (for want of a better word) this belief, probably isn't really saved at all.
There is, after all, a difference between a head knowledge and a heart knowledge.
One who believes the "fall from Grace" doctrine, will oft times "raise Hell" During the week and get saved again every Sunday morning. I've known people who actually do this.
The problem with this doctrine, I think, (because I don't believe this doctrine so, I don't really know) is that it would seem to imply, once again, that the practitioner of this doctrine is, as in the other doctrine, not really saved. But, it is more based on emotion than the other.
There are times in my life that I wonder if I'm really saved because often I go for long periods of time when I act like anything but a Christian. That worries me, but then, I think, if I worry about that, I must be a Christian, because the unbeliever who doesn't follow God wouldn't worry about such a thing.
Circular reasoning, perhaps?
In other words, it is often healthy to have doubts. But worrisome.
I don't like that worrisome feeling.
These days, as I approach ever closer to my time of death, and the signs of the end times seem to rush at us with increasing rapidity, I am currently in a period where I am focusing more on trying to live my life in such a way that others can see Jesus in me.
That is a Christian's best testimony, in my humble opinion.
I think my Christianity needs a shot in the arm, metaphorically speaking, ever so often, and more and more often as we inch closer to Christ's return.
There are other times when I believe there can be no doubt as to my salvation because I seem to have a deeper understanding of the nature of God than others who profess their Christianity.
Christians know there is a knowledge of the nature of God that simply hasn't been imparted to those who have a mere head knowledge of God rather than a heart knowledge.
And the infuriating thing about that, to me, is that there seems to be no way that I can pass that particular knowledge on to those who profess their Christianity, but don't seem to understand it the way I do. This would explain why I often get frustrated and angry with those whom I discuss these belief systems.
I'm not saying I know more than anyone else. I most assuredly don't. But there are certain things about the nature of God of which I seem to have a firm grasp, that many "intellectual" Biblical scholars don't seem to grasp at all.
That is perplexing to me, but then, God does say there are things the unbeliever simply can't understand without the indwelling of the Spirit in their lives. So, those scholars who have oh so much more head knowledge and book learning about the nature of God than I do, appear totally unaware of what to me seems so simple.
Am I right? Am I wrong? I truly don't know.
And so, I toss the dice and hedge my bets by leaning toward what I believe to be the right side. The side described by Christ in the sermon on the mount, so I can be better prepared (if one can be prepared at all) for the second coming of Christ, or the rapture, whichever comes first.
If the rapture comes first, I can only pray that I am strong enough when I am faced with a very real challenge to choose between my life and my faith.
Again, this is something I truly don't know, however, in real life situations when I have been faced with the choice of professing my faith or suffer varying degrees of persecution for what I believe, I have passed the test, and bravely professed my Christianity.
But those are poor examples. Those situations didn't involve actual physical pain or the threat of death. Could I, as Rachel Scott, at Columbine High School in Colorado did, look certain death in the face and say, without hesitation, "Yes, I believe in God"?
I'd much rather Jesus come back first, so I don't have to find out the hard way.
Either way, we'll all just have to wait, watch, and see.