I was raised Disciples of Christ (Christian). When I was nine, I repented and asked Jesus into my heart, and my life changed radically, especially in one way. I had been an angry child, so I started praying that Jesus would teach me to love. When I prayed this way, God would “hug me big, inside out”- my heart would be filled with love and joy in those moments of prayer. I kept this time very private. To my knowledge no one knew what had prompted the changes in my life. (They were just very thankful something had changed!)
For the next few years there were times I was closer to God and times I wasn’t, but He was always there. At 15, I was baptized. (Mom didn’t believe in child baptism, so my request had been denied for several years.) At 18, I began attending a Pentecostal church. There, they taught that there was more for me. God has more for everyone, so this was an easy concept to grasp. Soon after starting to attend there, I was baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost. The pastor took us to ecumenical meetings, and I attended Baptist Bible studies and Disciples of Christ youth fellowships. We fellowshipped other churches and called their members Christians. I never heard anyone at church downplay their experiences.
A few years later, a new pastor came into my life. He taught that no one who had not repented, been baptized in Jesus’ name, and received the Holy Ghost was saved. Had the teaching been that a person isn’t saved if they were taught Jesus’ name baptism and rejected it, I could have almost accepted it. But this new teaching was difficult to swallow; my earlier experiences were too real and life changing to doubt. Even more difficult for me to grasp was his teaching that other Pentecostals with fewer standards were also hell bound. Was my former pastor unsaved because he wore a watch, didn’t follow some other standard, or fellowshipped Trinitarians? Was I unsaved because I had skirts with slits in them? I couldn’t accept that, but stayed anyway.
One night, an evangelist came. He preached that night that if a hand is cut off from the body, the hand would die, but the body wouldn’t. Maybe the hand was diseased or injured. Sometimes the body needed to cut a part off to survive. If it did, the part that was cut off would die. There was no way for a hand to live apart from the body- it couldn’t be grafted onto another body, and it couldn’t be grafted back into the body it had been cut off from for very long after the blood supply stopped. Therefore, if the pastor cut a person out of the church, that person would be condemned, cut off from the blood of Jesus.
Very shortly after that disturbing message, my pastor got up and preached that a person was going to leave soon, and would almost immediately cut their hair and wear pants. He said everyone would be surprised who it was, but that it would happen. After church that night, he called me at home and told me to never come back, that I was expelled.
These three events combined disturbed and grieved me deeply, especially in light of the first message about the severed hand. I didn’t backslide, but instead started attending a different church. And I continued to wrestle with the two messages and the expulsion. Though I finally explained my expulsion to my new pastor, I never told anyone about the severed hand sermon.
This summer, an evangelist preached the remedy. He preached about the foundation:
2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure…
1 Corinthians 3
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God…
The evangelist continued by saying that the foundation of our salvation is Jesus. No one can shake our salvation (foundation) because our foundation was completed by Him, the master builder. We build on this foundation, and others build on it, poorly or well, and it is what we build that will be tried. But the foundation will remain sure. We cannot destroy the foundation by building on it. We cannot so easily lose salvation. The foundation is sure.
And the blood is sure. The blood can’t be stopped. At Calvary, the soldiers didn’t break Jesus’ legs like they did the thieves’. The prophecy was that not one bone of him should be broken. Why? Because the marrow in the bones produces the blood. If a bone is broken, the production of blood might be stopped or hindered in that area. But His bones were not broken. There is not one thing the devil or anyone else can do to stop the blood. We are saved by the blood, and it can’t be stopped. It can’t be hindered in our lives. Our foundation is sure in Him.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We and others build what they will in our lives by our words and deeds. These things will be tried by fire. But the foundation will not be tried- it was built by the master builder. Our foundation, our salvation, is sure in Jesus. There is nothing anyone can do to cut us off from Him.