Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Sons to Enemies

Isaiah 63:8-10
He said, "Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me"; and so he became their Savior. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.


Comment

There is some allowance for sin in the Christian life, as it says, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Eph 4:30 and so also with many other commands to Christians concerning one's sanctification, it is implied that such Christians who are in the process of overcoming such sins are nonetheless saved.

On the other hand there are also warnings to Christians concerning more extreme willful sin - sins which one willfully accepts as part of their lifestyle.

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10
What is the relevance of Israel's rebellion in the desert to the Christian life? Here are a couple of passages in the New Testament with apply Israel's rebellion as warnings to Christians:
1Cor 10:1-12
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food  and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did— and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.  We should not test the Lord, as some of them did— and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did— and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

Heb 3:7-12
So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’" See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
Now what are the purpose of these passages? These passages are intended to invoke fear in Christians. A fear that if they develop a sinful, unbelieving heart that they would suffer the wrath of God. For such people will not enter the promise land just as the Israel which rebelled did not enter the promise land. And why didn't they enter? "We see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief."Heb 3:19 Those who truly believe will show it by their behavior. Others only say they believe but may end up departing from the faith. When they are young they have only roots, but you shall know them by their fruits.


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