Old Testament reading: Hosea 11-14
“This is going to hurt me a whole lot worse than it does you.” As a child I remember this line being used on TV before a parent was about to discipline his child. Usually it was in a comedic situation and the child would have some humorous response. My parents never used this line with me, and Rhonda and I never used it with ours. However, the statement is true for any godly parent. It pains us to discipline our children! The same is true with God. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze 18:23), neither does He find joy in disciplining His children. This truth is nowhere more magnificently illustrated than in Hosea 11, and in verse 8 specifically – “How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?” Israel’s stubborn rebellion must at last be punished. They will be taken into captivity, never to be a nation again. Yet, God’s heart churned within Him. He was distraught at the thought of sending His children away. But it had to be done, lest His holiness and justice be diminished by His sympathies. Israel’s destruction would be complete, as evidenced by the reference to Admah and Zoboiim. These were two cities of the plain that were destroyed alongside Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 14:2, 8).
New Testament reading: Galatians 4-6
One of the most destructive doctrines in religion today is the impossibility of apostasy, a.k.a., “once saved, always saved.” This error cannot be reconciled with Galatians 5:4, wherein the inspired apostle wrote, “You have become estranged from Christ…” This letter was written “to the churches of Galatia” (1:2), i.e., Christians. People who are estranged from one another have no relationship. Researching other translations all finds similar terminology: “severed from Christ” (ESV, NASB), “alienated from Christ” (Holman, NIV). How can Christians become estranged, severed, or alienated from Christ and still be saved? The final nail in the coffin is the verb form utilized by Paul in saying, “you have fallen from grace.” Paul was not warning of a danger of falling from grace, but rather spoke of it as an already accomplished fact. Can someone be fallen from grace and still be saved?