Does it Really Matter?

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

My background is a Baptist background. My daddy was a Baptist deacon, and my mother taught a Sunday School class in a Baptist church. When I got saved, I was at a Southern Baptist Vacation Bible School and later got baptized at the First Baptist Church in Raytown, Missouri. While doing special music at the Southern Baptist Convention, I went forward to accept the call as a Baptist minister.

I went to a Baptist university where I was studying to be a Baptist pastor. While I was there I met a Baptist girl who was studying to be a Baptist missionary. We got married in a Baptist church and had two Baptist children. I accepted the call (the telephone call) and became senior pastor of a Southern Baptist Church. My world was a Baptist world and I lived completely within my world. I’m not saying that I looked at things one-sided, but I felt that if you weren’t Baptist, then something was wrong with you.

But on July 4, 1973, Dr. Jerry Horner, who was my Greek professor at SBU, laid hands on me and I was filled with the Holy Spirit. My entire world changed and I came to some startling revelations. One was this. Even though spirit-filled Christians believed in the same God and Jesus as the Baptists, there were some great doctrinal differences.

Shortly after being spirit-filled, FGBMFI (Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International) put me on their speaking circuit. I was advertised as the Southern Baptist pastor that got spirit-filled. At almost every meeting someone would ask me this question. “Do you believe that once we are saved, we are always saved?”

This question always surprised me. In some ways it reminded me of the old rock ‘n roll song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” The answer to that song is this. If you truly love someone, then true love never dies. Likewise, I felt the same way towards salvation. If a spirit was truly converted and reborn and if old things had truly passed away, and if the old man was dead, then there was no turning back.

We can spend countless hours debating this issue, but we can make the question pointless by doing this one thing. Accept Jesus, love God, be obedient to His Word and don’t turn back and then you win no matter who is right.

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless (Titus 3:9).

Devotion 0342

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