Isa 29:11 - These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (NIV)
This is a really good question. The real key to me is not what has been said or done. Where am I with the Lord at this very moment. Preachers, teachers, etc. point to three things which make us part of the family of God.
Now we get to the tricky part. After doing this we live on. Now comes the battle occuring daily with the flesh. If not walking in the Spirit, defeat is encountered. If long enough some will say the person never was sincere to begin with. Not a real Christian. Important thing is they do not judge hearts. This is only done by God, though they will point to “fruit” since by it we are known. How we love snapshots in time, even ones over weeks, months, etc.
Others will say “backslidden” and walked away from salvation. Though the same would not dream of saying no way of return. The troubling passage of Hebrews 6:
Heb. 6:4-6 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. (NIV)
So where does this leave me? Utterly and hopelessly dependent on the power of God and His grace through the Spirit in our Lord Jesus Christ. My current position is not a good one. The doctors clearly state after ~35 years there is nothing more they can do. Calling out in pain growing angry and having thoughts and words said privately bringing great dishonor to God. Even feeling “given up on” by Him.
Is this a worse sin than the person who just dropped me as a “friend” on CB? Without ever coming in private or with another to discuss. Not a rhetorical question, answer and play God. Both are walking in emotions and the flesh since not obedient to His word or calling. Each has a justification in mind, though knowing not right. Christ calls for more and breaking one command breaks all. Genuinely, different sin merely has different consequences.
Others of “greater maturity” run to point out areas needing repentance. All while ignoring the logs in their own eyes. Truly mature ones are simply Jesus. Restoring in love and gentleness the broken, hurting, wounded, and fallen brother or sister. (Gal. 6)
When the Lord does not run in and “save the day” in earthly circumstances. Even raging at God, what is His response? I would suggest:
I love you, am always here with you. You must let go of the anger. As long as you hold it, My voice will not be heard. If doing so, even though earthly pain may not cease My call is answered. Repenting, recieveing forgiveness, and joy of salvation and Holy Spirit return.
The question of whether we are a Christian is not a historical event. It is an ongoing walk of being little Christ’s. For ourselves and those in our life. Yes, the righteous may fall but rise up looking to God for strength. All to make it through another day. Jesus seeks the broken things to put back together in His way. All to display God’s glory in heaven and on earth.
Prov. 24:16 - … the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. (NIV)
Broken Things - Matthew West
Attributions: New International Version®, Copyright Biblical, inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.