“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12
This is a warning many Christians would do well to think about from time to time. After all, God urges Christians to “present (our) bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is (our) spiritual service” and to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of (our) mind” (Romans 12:1-2). He wants His followers to give their entire lives (twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week) to Him through the renewing of their minds. Christianity is more than just going to church on Sunday. When Christians start thinking otherwise, they are in danger.
Throughout the entire Bible, you can read of the problem of sin. Jesus warned, “If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned” (John 15:6). The writer of Hebrews warned Christians twice of the dangers of falling away from God through evil, unbelieving hearts (Hebrews 3:12) and willful, unrepentant sin that makes Christ’s sacrifice for sins invalid as far as they are concerned (Hebrews 10:26-31). This is why disciples of Christ must always be looking out that they are truly righteous in the sight of God and have not fallen away from his ways.
So what is the solution? The beginning of the answer to this question can be found by examining what Jesus did when he was tempted by Satan in Matthew 4:1-11. Satan tempted him the first time, and he said, “It is written...” (v. 4). Satan tempted him a second time (this time using Scripture taken out of context), and he replied, “On the other hand, it is written...” (v. 7). Satan tempted him a third time, and he came back with another “It is written...” (v. 10). Jesus had knowledge of the word of God, and that kept him from being tricked by the deceitfulness of Satan’s temptations and succumbing to sin. Knowledge of the word of God is the first step (Isaiah 5:13; Hosea 4:6; Acts 17:30).
However, knowledge alone does not solve the problem of sin. James wrote that “faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:17). He went on to say that “one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Once again, this is a problem many within the church face. How many Christians can be confident they have knowledge of the truth of God’s word...and yet do they apply those biblical precepts to themselves? When a matter is being preached scripturally from the pulpit, how many say “Amen!” in agreement to what is being preached and yet do not practice that truth in their lives? It is like if you’re sick, and you go to the doctor. He gives you a prescription, you fill the prescription, take it home, read the instructions, understand them...and yet do not follow them. Even though you have knowledge of what to do in order to get well, will you get well without USING that knowledge? It is the same with having knowledge of the word of God, my friends. We must practice what we are taught. Otherwise, falling away from the faith and back into sin is unavoidable...and eternal hell is that much closer.
Therefore, I’d like to join Paul in encouraging us all to “take heed that we do not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Friends, take advantage of every single opportunity to grow in knowledge of the Word. I’d like to encourage you to come to the 10 a.m. Bible classes on Sunday mornings as well as the 11 a.m. worship service at the Calhoun Church of Christ. You’re also invited to the Sunday night 6 p.m. worship service and the Wednesday Night Bible Classes at 7 p.m.
Take notes and ask questions. Then go home and study some more. Make sure that you are using the knowledge of God’s word you have every single day. When that happens, you’d be amazed at how quickly a Scripture will come to mind when Satan tempts you to sin, and that will make it that much easier to, like our Lord, command Satan to leave.