On June 12, 2005, Jim Rabchuk delivered the Sunday message at Chicago UBF based on Colossians 3:1-17. The key verse is Colossians 3:10, “And put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” This passage is misinterpreted to teach that Christians must do works in order to maintain their salvation. The Bible clearly states that we are saved by Christ alone. We cannot do anything to gain our salvation. Further, once we are saved, we are not required to work to remain saved.
“For those who think that they have a guaranteed ticket to paradise, please consider the example of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were already there in paradise. They had the command of God to protect them from temptation and death. But they were too confident. They did not meditate on God’s command and rules for living in paradise. Instead, they were attracted by some interesting new ideas from a silky smooth salesman. When they let the devil draw their attention to the good taste and potential benefits of eating the forbidden fruit, they rejected everything that God had told them, and ate from the tree from which he had forbidden them to eat. In short, when the man and woman forgot that God’s paradise belongs to God, they became careless regarding their desires. However, once the desire to enjoy the forbidden fruit was born in their hearts, it was already too late. They fell, and were cast out of paradise. We have been born again through our faith in Jesus’ death for our sins and resurrection. But we must renew our holy desires in Christ day by day, or else our hope in his kingdom will have been in vain.”
Rabchuk justifies having to work to maintain salvation by referencing Adam and Eve’s sin. Adam and Eve were given paradise by God. Then, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command not to eat from the tree of knowledge. God’s punishment was to remove them from the Garden of Eden (Paradise). Rabchuk argues that just as Adam and Eve were removed from Paradise because of their sin, Christians can be removed from Paradise because of their sins. If Christians fail one day to renew their holy desires in Christ, their hope in the kingdom is in vain. More bluntly, failure to renew holy desires everyday will result in God putting Christians in hell. Thus, if Christians do not have holy desire one day, they will not be saved until they again renew their holy desires in Christ.
Rabchuk message misrepresents scripture and presents a false idea of salvation in Christ. Galatians 2:15-16 says, 15"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 3:25-29 states “25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Those who belong to Christ are Christ’s heirs. Adam and Eve violated God’s law that they should not eat from the tree of knowledge. Adam and Eve were punished for their sin or violation of God’s law. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection brought victory over sin and death. Through Christ’s death, all who accept Christ as the Savior of their sins will enter Paradise in heaven. Christ’s crucifixion was for all sins: past, present, and future, including Adam and Eve’s. The point of Christ’s death on the cross was to bring victory over sin that began with Adam and Eve. Yet, Rabchuk claims that Christians can suffer the same fate as Adam and Eve should they disobey God as Adam and Eve did. Christ brought victory over sin and death. Thus, Christians no longer need worry about suffering the fate of Adam and Eve. We can rejoice that Christ died for our sins and rose from the grave and has a place prepared for all of his people (Jn14:2).