Into The Pit
As a counselor, I emphasize the importance of God's grace with those whom I counsel. First, we are saved by grace through faith. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). This means that we can do absolutely nothing to earn our salvation. Salvation is a free gift of God that we receive through a faith commitment unto Jesus as our Lord and savior. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10). When we are saved, we are also born of the Spirit by the grace of God. There is nothing that we can do to add to or take away from the new birth experience. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (I Peter 1:23).
Second, once one becomes a child of God, he also SHOULD live by the grace of God. It is God's grace that keeps a Believer from sinning. The prophet wrote, "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:27). Paul also wrote, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). God enables the Believer to do anything that God asks him to do. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). The Word even tells us that we must yield our will to His will and live by His power (grace). "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).
However, we find that some Believers continue to fall even though they try to live a righteous life. Why? Some are prideful and refuse the grace of God saying, "I can do it myself". Others are ignorant to the truth of God's grace and try to live by their own efforts. Then there are others who lose God's grace to live the Christian life. When God removes His enabling grace, the individual falls as though the floor upon which he has stood fell out from under him. He becomes helpless and falls into the deep dark pit of sin. It happens almost before he realizes it.
The principle of God removing His grace:
1. God removed the grace of health when Miriam and Aarron spoke against Moses, the man that God placed in the position of authority. "And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman" (Numbers 12:1). "And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous" (Numbers 12:9-10).
2. God removed the grace of health when New Testament Believers failed "to discern the body of Christ" before taking the Lord's supper. "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (I Corinthians 11:29-30). The term "sleep" here speaks of death. The picture is this: some looked at other Believers with a judgmental attitude and declared, "How could they be Christians and do things like that?" The result was that God removed His grace of health and some got sick and others even died.
3. God removes His grace of forgiveness when we fail to forgive others. "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:15). "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses" (Matthew 18:34-35). I am not speaking of eternal forgiveness in Christ but the freedom to live here and now in forgiveness.
4. God removes His mercy when we fail to show mercy. "The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh" (Proverbs 11:17). In contrast, when we show mercy we receive the grace of mercy. "With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright" (II Samuel 22:26).
5. God may remove the grace of victory over our enemies when we gloat over the fall of our enemy. "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him" (Proverbs 24:17-18). We then have to fight the enemy in our own strength.
6. God may remove the grace of hearing our prayers. If we fail to ask God in faith, we will not receive what we have asked for. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (James 1:5-7). If a husband does not live with his wife with knowledge, he may not get his prayers answered. "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered" (I Peter 3:7).
7. God may also remove the grace of the ability to do right. There may be occasions in which God withdraws from us the ability for us live righteously.
a. This grace may be removed when we have a judgmental attitude toward others. "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Matthew 7:1-2). I am convinced that when we judge others that we place ourselves in a position to fall into sin, even the same sin as the one that we judge. The young man who swares that he will never be a drunkard like his dad, will most likely become just like his dad. The Christian who looks at another Christian in total disgust and says, "You will never catch me doing anything like that" is destined to fall.
b. This grace may be removed when we refuse to restore someone who has fallen into sin. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). The picture is that if we have the wrong attitude toward one who has sinned, then God may remove His grace that we may fall.
c. This grace may be removed when we look too highly upon ourselves. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). "Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice" (Matthew 26:33-34). When we think that we don't need God, then God removes His grace and we fall. God pulls His rug from under us.
d. This grace may be removed when we set a trap causing others to sin. "He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him" (Ecclesiastes 10:8). "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him" (Proverbs 26:27). "Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession" (Proverbs 28:10). "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way" (Romans 14:13).