Does Not Guarantee Future Results
The disclaimer actually has Biblical merit. The Israelites in Ezekiel’s day were complaining to God about how unfair He was. God’s answer was that it was they who were unfair. His ways were entirely logical and sensible. For instance, He said, “When a righteous man turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.” (Ezekiel 18:26). Even though Jews in that day were God’s people by virtue of physical birth, they could lose their souls if they turned away from the Lord. Even if they had been great, faithful servants of Jehovah at one time, they could turn away and be lost. The same is true of Christians. Even though we once enjoyed the blessing of forgiveness through the blood of Christ, even though we might at one time have been great, faithful servants of the Lord, we can turn away and be lost (II Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 2:5). Israel cried, “That’s not fair!” Many today make the same cry while at the same time trying to soothe their consciences with the damnable Calvinistic doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” God said that He is eminently fair in His judgments. He demands faithfulness up to the point of death (Revelation 2:10). He doesn’t expect sinless perfection (Psalm 78:38-39), but He does expect allegiance (Matthew 22:37-38). Past performance does not guarantee future results. Just because we are Christians and at one time served God faithfully does not ensure us a heavenly home. We dare not rest on our laurels. We must ever wage the war against sin and for purity in our lives until our courses are run (II Timothy 4:6-8).
Going back to our text in Ezekiel, we find that God wasn’t finished talking about the fairness of His judgments. He continued in Ezekiel 18:27-28, “Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” A Jewish man or woman in Ezekiel’s day could have been the most vile of sinners, but God said He would take them back. The basis of His acceptance of them was the fact that they looked at their sinful lives in shame and disgust and turned to the Lord in humble repentance. One would think that such a wonderful opportunity for redemption of a once sinking soul would have delighted Israel. Instead, they again said, “God, you are not fair!” It seems like they felt that some people just didn’t deserve forgiveness. God said otherwise. He said in Ezekiel 18:30 that any one of them who repented and turned from their lives of sin would be saved from the ruin of iniquity. The same is true today. I Corinthians 6:9-11 catalogs some sins that would make many of us cringe. The list includes sexual sin, disrespect toward God, and financial transgressions, among others. Addressing those who had engaged in these acts, Paul said, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Through the blood of Jesus, the Father took away those sins because the people had turned from them. It didn’t matter how vile their sins had been. It didn’t matter how shameful and disgusting their iniquities were. God took them away because the people turned to Him in obedience. He will still do that today. What’s more, He even took and continues to take away the sins of those who were and are already Christians. Simon was told that he was “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” but was also told that he, as a Christian, could repent and pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:22-23). I John 1:9 assures us that God faithfully removes the sins of Christians when we repent and seek His forgiveness. There are no qualifications on the type or level of sin in John’s inspired statement. All sins are included. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The past performance of a non-Christian or a Christian who has gone back into the world will produce the result of eternal damnation (Matthew 7:21-23). God can change that outcome if we will turn to Him in obedience, no matter how bad our past might have been.
Where are you now in your spiritual life, dear friend? Regardless of the number of holy mountaintops you have ascended in your allegiance to God or regardless of the depraved depths into which you have plunged in your service to Satan, where are you now? Past performance does not guarantee future results. Where are you now?