One of the assumptions in the churches today is that most of its membership is regenerate. Nothing could be more deadly and deceiving to the souls of those professing the name of Jesus Christ.
Once a person has been baptised and joined a local church it is assumed that this person has "accepted Christ" or "asked Jesus into their heart" based on some commonly held beliefs about some often misunderstood scriptures.
The sad fact is these people seldom hear an evangelistic message from the pulpit because their pastors take for granted these people are already saved and therefore they don't need to be called unto repentance.
What usually happens then is that these stony ground hearers are often exposed or subjected to many sermons about Bible truths which add to their intellectual or "head knowledge". Such knowledge and convictions can and often do result in a temporary change of heart or mind resulting in an outward reformation of character and behavior but which fall short of salvation and a complete transformation that is, from a state of death to one of eternal life. These people are still under the dominion of sin and Satan and are subject to eternal damnation and the wrath of God should they die in this unconverted state.
Our Lord knew this when he preached during his brief ministry on earth as well as his disciples who learned the truth from his teachings. We find for example in the parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-8) as well as many warnings throughtout the New Testament concerning those who have professed faith in Christ.
First we must make a distinction between the internal church and the external church or more properly the universal church and the local church where believers gather each Sunday. Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47;
All true believers who have been born again unto a "lively hope" are part of the universal church and are usually also found in the external or corporate or local church.
However, not everyone in the local or external church is necessarily born again but many who make a profession of Christ are deceived and deluded by their wicked hearts and their enemy the Devil. Such lost ones are like Simon who also believed and was baptised but was infact still in the "gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity". This is language of an unsaved person. Acts 8:13
From a human vantage point we can not know with absolute certainty who is and who is not saved. Only God really knows those that are his and all these believers are called the elect and have been chosen to salvation from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonnians 2:13)so we can say that those who die in unbelief were never the elect and therefore their names were never written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8; 17:8)
Is there injustice with God therefore? God forbid. How shall the creature accuse God for not including him in His salvation by questioning His makers wisdom?
Paul answers this objection in Romans 9:20 and replies, "Shall the thing formed say unto Him that formed it why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:"
In these days of easy believism the free will heresy is rampant. There are many who really don't understand the salvation that God has in view because they don't read their Bibles carefully. So many have been mistaught by their pastors, Sunday school teachers, favorite authors or peers about what it means to be a Christian and these ideas take root and are then justified by appealing to various scripture texts as support.
Eternal security is preached without the added warnings given in Hebrews and other books of the Bible making our salvation something we often take for granted.
Once a sinner has come to make a "decision for Jesus" whatever that implies or has said a salvation prayer this individual has then been assured that he or she can never be lost from that moment on. This doctrine of once saved always saved has been firmly implanted into the mind many professing Christians so that should any doubt of their salvation come to their mind through gross immorality or sin they're told to immediately renounce these doubts because they are from Satan. This isn't necessarily true.
If a person is lost Satan wants them to think they are really saved even when there is no evidence to make such a claim. Satan wants a true follower of Christ to doubt his salvation by reminding him or her of their many sins and that they can not possibly be saved and will never be saved because they've sinned away the grace of God. These thoughts should be abandoned as coming from the enemy of your soul.
It's never too late to be saved if you are mourning over your sins and seeking God's mercy in repentance and turning by faith to Jesus Christ.
Never despair of hope in the cleansing power of Christ's blood to redeem you from all iniquity.
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Another scenario taught by those who don't understand salvation is that when somebody is found to be an apostate or backslider in heart one cries out that such a one has lost their salvation when in fact the evidence shows these people were probably never really saved even though they thought they were saved. They did not come to a SAVING knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ even though they had a great deal of speculative knowledge concerning Bible doctrines or theology.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching. See his videos on www.YouTube.com. Type in LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.com