by Lori Eldridge
The following is a critique of Stair's beliefs on salvation which came from Bro. Stair's Overcomer Ministry links page. I have only included those portions that I intend to comment on.Do you see what Stair is doing here? He is preparing to compare Lucifer's sin with yours. However, angels are spirit beings (Heb. 1:4) and are not subject to death (Luke 20:36). They were also not created in the image of God and therefore they cannot be redemed by Christ, like man because Christ did not die for the angels. So, can angels repent from their sins? No. Can man? Yes.
WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED?
I want to write this month on a subject that really needs to be dealt with. With the nearness of the coming of the Lord Jesus, this issue needs to have some clarification. This question has caused much confusion and really needs to have a scriptural answer in order to give the right direction so that you and all that want to be saved can and will be in that day when He cometh.ÊIn Matthew 1:21 the word of God tells us Jesus came to save men from their sins. Read it with me.
"AND SHE SHALL BRING FORTH A SON, AND THOU SHALT CALL HIS NAME JESUS: FOR HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS."Take note dear one, not in their sins but from their sins.
As Stair will reveal later in his article, he has his own special interpretation of the word "sin", so please keep that in mind as you read along.
I would ask the readers to look up in your favorite Greek dictionary/concordance and check out Strong's #575 where you will see that this word apo, which is a preposition, not only means "from" but also means "in". According to Strong this word means "off, i.e., away (from something near), in various senses (of place, time, or relation; literally or figuratively)." Then Strong gives us several variations of apo, "after, ago, at, because of, before, by (the space of), for (-th), from, in, (out) of, off, (up-) on, (-ce), since, with. In composition (as a prefix) it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc."
Thayer's Greek Lexicon breaks this word down even farther according to the type of verb it follows. In the case of Matthew 1:21 we are talking about the verb "save", i.e., "saved from". We have 4 options to choose from: (1) after verbs of motion, (2) separation of a part from the whole, (3) of any kind of separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed, (4) and of a state of separation, i.e., of distance.
It appears to me that the 3rd choice is the only one that applies with the verb "save". Thayer expands on this 3rd category by stating that this prepostion is used, "(a) after verbs of averting, loosening, liberating, ransoming, preserving; . . . (b) after verbs of desisting, abstaining, avoiding, etc., . . .(c) after verbs of concelaing and hindering; . . . (d) . . . by repentance to turn away from wickedness. . .".
Now, is there any doubt that this word apo means just what it says, i.e., Christ saves us from our sins and it doesn't matter whether we are saved "from" our sins, or whether we are "in" sin or not, because you have to be "in" sin to be saved "from" it. Right?
So here we see right at the start of Stair's article that he is not telling us the truth about this one little word and is basing his whole theory on it. I would be tempted to quit right here but lets see what other nuggets of fool's gold we can glean from this "prophet" of God.
I'm going to let him continue without interruption for awhile so you can get a feel for where he's coming from with this sin theory.
Jesus came to deal with sin, both inbred and committed sin, in the lives of all men. Knowing the power of sin, He first paid the redemptive price for our forgiveness of those sins.
"IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS." (I John 1:9).The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus came to save sinners.
"THIS IS A FAITHFUL SAYING, AND WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION, THAT CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS; OF WHOM I AM CHIEF." (I Tim. 1:15).Then in Romans 5:8:
"BUT GOD COMMENDETH HIS LOVE TOWARD US, IN THAT, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US."And still in another verse:
"I CAME NOT TO CALL THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS TO REPENTANCE" (Luke 5:32).You can readily see if you will that one of the main reasons for Jesus coming in the flesh was to save men from sin that was grieving the heart of God. Since He made man and man sinned, God, who loved men, made redemption for man. First, He gives His word. Eat of every tree in the garden; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the day you eat thereof you shall die (Gen. 2:16-17). Why did God do that?
Why? Because God wanted man to either love him truthfully or have the option to reject him. God did not want a bunch of robots doing his bidding. He wanted a relationship with man.
Well it is easy to understand. The very place called heaven, God's dwelling place, was filled with harmony, peace, love, and joy. The devil, Lucifer, was filled with pride and rebelled against the position of God and sought to dethrone Him. When this pride gripped him, sin was found in him.
"HOW ART THOU FALLEN FROM HEAVEN, O LUCIFER, SON OF THE MORNING! HOW ART THOU CUT DOWN TO THE GROUND, WHICH DIDST WEAKEN THE NATIONS! FOR THOU HAST SAID IN THINE HEART, 'I WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN, I WILL EXALT MY THRONE ABOVE THE STARS OF GOD: I WILL SIT ALSO UPON THE MOUNT OF THE CONGREGATION, IN THE SIDES OF THE NORTH:ÊI WILL ASCEND ABOVE THE HEIGHTS OF THE CLOUDS; I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH.' YET THOU SHALT BE BROUGHT DOWN TO HELL, TO THE SIDES OF THE PIT" (Isa. 14:12-15).
"THOU ART THE ANOINTED CHERUB THAT COVERETH; AND I HAVE SET THEE SO: THOU WAST UPON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN OF GOD; THOU HAST WALKED UP AND DOWN IN THE MIDST OF THE STONES OF FIRE. THOU WAST PERFECT IN THY WAYS FROM THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED, TILL INIQUITY WAS FOUND IN THEE."Since sin brought rebellion and turned heaven into a place of confusion and evil, God embarked on a plan to restore heaven to harmony without sin.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. . . ."Does that verse say anything about Lucifer falling from Heaven or that the earth was destroyed by Lucifer after it was created by God? No. If this information is found elsewhere in the Bible then Stair should have referenced it. It is merely his imagination working overtime. But if you hadn't been reading along with Stair with the intention of checking what he was saying, you wouldn't know that he wasn't interpreting the Scriptures correctly.
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."Anyone else see it? The way Stair wrote his interpretation for this verse, if you were listening to it over the radio, it would sound like all of the above was a quote from scripture, but it's not. It's just more of Stair's opinion not based on fact.
Man will replace those fallen angels. But they will be a tried people who have, by an act of their will, submitted to the word and will of God through His offer of divine grace. They, on the basis of love, serve and worship the God of love and forgiveness.
"WHEREFORE I SAY UNTO YOU, ALL MANNER OF SIN AND BLASPHEMY SHALL BE FORGIVEN UNTO MEN: BUT THE BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST SHALL NOT BE FORGIVEN UNTO MEN" (Mat. 12:31).Here again, we see God's great desire to forgive sin. But here He also mentions a sin that even God cannot nor will not forgive. I hope to deal with that sin before I am through.
"JESUS ANSWERED THEM, VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER committeth SIN IS THE SERVANT OF SIN. AND THE SERVANT ABIDETH NOT IN THE HOUSE FOR EVER: BUT THE SON ABIDETH EVER." (John 8:34-35).Again I repeat, you cannot serve God and mammon or sin. Now we know that when one commits sin and does it continually, he is not a servant of God nor a true child of God. Can you not see and understand that sin still separates one from God?
"BEHOLD, THE LORD'S HAND IS NOT SHORTENED, THAT IT CANNOT SAVE; NEITHER HIS EAR HEAVY, THAT IT CANNOT HEAR: BUT YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE SEPARATED BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD, AND YOUR SINS HAVE HID HIS FACE FROM YOU, THAT HE WILL NOT HEAR." (Isa. 59:1-2).This scripture is referring to the fact that when we sin God will not listen to our prayers. It is not saying that we will loose our salvation. One thing I find very annoying is when teachers quote out of the OT when teaching on sin rather than the NT. Why? Because God's program for paying for one's sin in the OT was different before Christ came and died for our sins. He paid it all. There is nothing more we can do to absolve ourselves in God's eyes than believe on his Son:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM IS NOT CONDEMNED, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." (John 3:16-18).Why didn't Stair use these NT verses when he was preaching on sin? Could it be because they are contrary to what he is teaching? Also, please notice that these verses indicate what I said above about who will be condemned and who won'tunbelievers will be condemned, believers will not. Therefore Stair is not teaching the truth about sin or even salvation for that matter.
"When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death [for an unbeliever], but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [for the believer]"As you can see, the phrase "the wages of sin is death," is clearly meant for unbelievers, not a believer who has been promised eternal life. It is only the unbelievers who are promised death. And as we saw above, believers are not under condemnation. It is only unbelievers who willingly continue in their sin because they don't have the Holy Spirit guiding them. Here is another example of how just listening to what Stair says, and not following along with him in the scriptures, can lead you down the wrong path, because he is not teaching the truth of the Word.
"AND WHEN HE IS COME, HE WILL REPROVE THE WORLD OF SIN, AND OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND OF JUDGMENT: OF SIN, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE NOT ON ME" (John 16:8-9).I'm surprised Stair used this Scripture because it says the reason these folks are judged is because They believe not on Me. This just substantiates what John said above in his gospel, that it is unbelievers who are condemned.
"We know that the law is spiritual; but I AM UNSPIRITUAL, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but IT IS SIN LIVING IN ME. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in MY SINFUL NATURE. For I have the desire to do what is good but I CANNOT CARRY IT OUT. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to dothis I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it but IT IS SIN LIVING IN ME that does it. So I find this law at work. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. WHAT A WRETCHED MAN I AM! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to Godthrough Jesus Christ our Lord!So, there we see that Paul struggled with sin all the time. However he didn't condemn himself to death, and neither did he believe that he was headed to hell because he couldn't attain sinlessness. Instead he trusted in Christ who died for his sins and had promised him eternal life as we saw in other scriptures.
"MY LITTLE CHILDREN, THESE THINGS WRITE I UNTO YOU, THAT YE SIN NOT. AND IF ANY MAN SIN, WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS" (I John 2:1).Once again Stair has used a verse that refutes his own position. He must be getting tired. Please notice that John said "IF" you sin, you have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ. Stair has been implying that "IF" we sin we are condemned.
"WHOSOEVER ABIDETH IN HIM SINNETH NOT: WHOSOEVER SINNETH HATH NOT SEEN HIM, NEITHER KNOWN HIM."Brother Stair
"WE KNOW THAT WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD SINNETH NOT..." (I John 3:6 & 5:18).