71-Where a Tree Falls…
Ecclesiastes 11:3 (NKJV)
…And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
I remember coming across this verse more than 35 years ago and it really struck me. This is how I understood it then and still do.
If, as a Christian, I should stray away from the Lord and in that rebellion, I should fall (die), then if I fell while in rebellion, that is where I will be judged. If I died while still walking in faith, then it is while in faith that I shall be judged. In either case, I will meet my judgment based on the condition of my heart when I die.
Since that time many years ago, I asked the Lord to confirm this thought to me and He was faithful to show me the many verses in His word that prove this out. The chiefest of them was found in both the Old and New Testaments.
Ezekiel 33:13 (NKJV)
When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die.
Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
I Never Knew You
21 “ Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? ’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! ’
The results are the same in both verses. Jesus says I never knew you. In this, He was quoting from the passage in Ezekiel 33. Remember, Jesus IS the Word and He does not deviate from His own word. If He said it in Ezekiel, then it must still hold true today, as He never changes. Men change and read into the scriptures what pleases them and justifies their evil ways but no matter how they try to interpret the scriptures to suit them, they cannot influence God into changing what He had said.
Often times we read that Jesus and those who spoke by the Holy Spirit said, he who endures to the end shall be saved. Endurance is the key word here. A man may start well but later stray away from God’s precepts and follow his own path. It is during the course of our walk with God that our heart and initial commitment is proven. Even faithful and believing Abraham had his faith tested time and again while on his journey to the unknown land that God was leading him to inherit.
No man is guaranteed a place in heaven based on the beginning of his journey unless he dies at that beginning, like the thief on the cross. Jesus often forgave men their sins but also admonished them to sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon them.
Today, we say grace covers everything, and so it does. When we sin, more grace is given but why should we tempt the patience of the Lord. He even says that His soul has no pleasure on those who draw back.
Hebrews 10:38 (NKJV)
Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
The Apostle Paul gives a vivd warning in Romans 11 that it was unbelief that caused the children of Israel to be cut out of the vine and we, through faith, were engrafted in. If we do not continue in faith, then we too will face being cut off as well.
Romans 11:17-22 (NKJV)
And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God:on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
For those who believe in eternal security and believe the lie that they can sin freely without repentance and still find a place in heaven, repent now and change your mind and your heart. Walk in fear for your judgment lies at the door. For if you fall while in your unrepentant sins, then there, in that state of rejection, shall you lie and with, a certain fearful reckoning to come.
For all the faithful, maintain your faithfulness until the end of your days and when it is your time, rest in the promise of the Lord for you have endured to the end and a crown of life awaits you.