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By Eusebio Tanicala, PhD    

In the application of verses, there are three periods in a disciple’s life where the actions of verses are placed under.  These are PAST Tense, PRESENT Tense, and FUTURE Tense.

1. PAST TENSE – At conception, a child is supplied a clean spirit from Yahweh as suggested in Zech. 12:1 & Heb. 12:9. A child is born innocent. Then a person becomes deceived by Satan and becomes spiritually dead says Romans 7:7-12; Eph. 2:1-3; Col. 3:1-4. From the age of accountability at about 9 or 10 years until one learns of Christ, one commits many sins.  Then a person learns of the grace of God and His offer of forgiveness. A person puts his faith in Christ and undergoes the new birth. One is forgiven of past sins and becomes a new man.

Learning about the gospel of Christ, having faith, repentance, confession of faith orally and by deeds, then dramatizing that faith in Christ in baptism are not works to earn salvation. These acts are humble obedience of faith in Christ which result to new birth of John 3:5-8. A disciple becomes a new man says 2 Cor. 5:17 with the Holy Spirit given as gift indwelling him and empowering him to become victorious in Christian life says Ephesians 3:16-20 & Romans 8:1-16.

2. PRESENT TENSE – A disciple grows in the knowledge and grace of God says 2 Peter 3:18. There are actions and responsibilities assigned and required of every disciple. These should be humbly obeyed because Christ is our King, Master, Mediator, Lord, and Judge in the last day. John 15:1-2 says that we are the branches of the vine and he who does not bear fruit is CUT OFF. Romans 6:17 adds,  “But thank God that though you were the servants of sin you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine in which you were instructed.” James 1:25 says, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the WORK, this one will be blessed in what he does.”  A lazy, irresponsible disciple may be removed from the list of faithful servants.  A sinning disciple’s name could be erased from the book of Christ. See Exodus 32:32 and Heb. 12:23. (Note: Get a detailed listing of verses on the possibility of apostasy or falling away from grace.)  

During our life on earth, an obedient person gets a taste of eternal life, says Heb. 6:1-8.  This eternal life or spiritual life may stick to our soul as long as one humbly and lovingly obeys Christ. Spiritual life is eternal, but its attachment to the soul is conditional. If a person is steadfast, that spiritual life, or eternal life, continues to be attached to the spirit-soul part of man, he is alive and never dies spiritually, says John 11:26.  

However, if one allows himself to be deceived by Satan through the worldly desires of the flesh, one grieves the Holy Spirit, and loses his spiritual life which is spiritual death. That is apostasy. That is the cutting off of the branch which Christ Himself does. Some branches of the Olive Tree in Romans 11 were cut-off or removal. It means there was actual cutting off branches or separation from the fellowship of God. Citizenship could be removed. Adoption as children could be rescinded. That is the law.

3. FUTURE TENSE–Christian Life is a Race. Says Apostle Paul when he was about to be put to death: “I have finished the course. I have guarded the faith. Hereafter there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me in that day, and not me only, but to all who love his appearing.” (2Tim.4:7-8)  Until one receives the crown, salvation is not yet completed. Apostle Peter adds, “Whom you have not seen, yet you love him, in whom you believe, not having seen; so you rejoice with inexpressible joy and full of glory. Obtaining the END of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1Peter 1:8-9)  Notice the last sentence. There is a FUTURE phase of salvation. Rev. 2:10  says,  “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.”    Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. May 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?’ And them I will declare to them, ‘I never know you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matt. 25:34 - “Then the king will say to those on his right, Come, you blessed of my Father! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

This is a FUTURE EVENT.  There is a phase of God’s Kingdom on earth, and there is a second phase of God’s Kingdom in the heavens!!! It is only when one reaches the Kingdom in the Personal Presence of the glorious God, the Father of our spirits that one can claim permanent eternal life to the glorious resurrected body with soul and spirit together again. At this stage, eternal life to the body-soul-spirit becomes permanent.      

As an illustration, we submit this idea:  “Diamond is forever”, is a common saying.  A piece of valuable diamond could be gifted to somebody.  That diamond does not rust, could not be changed by burning. Could not be dissolved by any acidic solution. It is indeed forever. It is eternal. But that diamond could be misplaced. Could be stolen. Could be sold or pawned. The item is forever or eternal, but its possession by a person is not eternal or forever.      

In salvation, the characteristic of the spiritual life is eternal. But its attachment to a person is conditional.  The Bible teaches the possibility and actuality of apostasy. Hence attachment of this spiritual or eternal life to the disciple is not permanent, just as the possession of a “forever diamond” is not permanent.  If willingly sold or pawned or by negligence, a precious diamond ring or necklace could be separated from the owner.  # (E.Tanicala)