Matthew 12: 43-45 43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. (see also Luke 11: 24-26)
I once had a conversation with a preacher. He was the pastor of a non-denominational Evangelical church. (They actually call it a worship center) He explained to me that he was cleansed by the blood of Jesus, saved from his sins, and was “already walking in Heaven. No matter what I do. The victory has been won.”
Bold statement. Could he really believe that?
“What if you began to grow tempted, and started taking advantage of vulnerable women, sleeping with everyone you could and abusing young girls?” I asked. “It would not be good to do those things, and I hope I wouldn’t, but I’m still walking in Heaven. The price has been paid.” he replied.
I asked “What if you grew angry and plotted and fumed and eventually killed someone?” “Still walking” he said.
“How about if you converted to Islam? Christians will do that sometimes” I said. There was a pause and then he said “A truly saved Christian would not do that. If a Christian were to do that, then I would have to say they weren’t really saved.”
(So there’s the catch.) If you believe “once saved always saved” then it doesn’t matter what you do. You’re already walking in heaven- and that can’t be taken away.
Or can it?
2 Peter 2: 20-22 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Hebrews 6: 4-6 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
In the highly symbolic “Parable of the Empty House” that I quoted at the beginning, Jesus described how a person has been saved- the unclean spirit is expelled, and the house is swept clean. They have “escaped the pollutions of the world” and have been “made partakers of the Holy Spirit.” But demons return, and they reclaim the house because it is “garnished and empty.”
And the last state of the man is worse than at the first. Why?
“For it is impossible… if they shall fall away again, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Put another way: A person who is saved, who has escaped from the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and then turns from it, is in serious jeopardy:
Matthew 12: 31-32 31 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. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Jesus reveals that the demon will return (with company). What will he find?
Luke 11: 21-22 21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
Once the house (you) has been swept clean, it isn’t over. It is just beginning. You have to put up a wall of Faith. A tower of Truth. Furnished with Love. And then, put on the full armor of God- the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. Then when the Destroyer returns to his former house, he finds a fortified dwelling of God.
If these spiritual wanderers, fugitives, vagabonds find the former house strong, then they will seek another empty house.
But, if the house is swept clean, and nothing more has been done, then the Destroyer, with his comrades Disbelief, Rebellion, Lust, Hate, Blasphemy, Worldliness, and Fear walk right in.
Then, it is over. Salvation lost.
Hebrews 6: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
1 Kings 11: 4-9 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice
Those who have had their names written into the Book of Life, can also have it blotted out:
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Even though I don’t believe someone should say “I am already walking in Heaven”, there is a way to know we are on the right track, to know we are perfecting a house of God and not waxing vulnerable:
1 John 3: 21-24
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Don’t be an empty, vacant house- appealing to demons. Be a Temple of God!