The One Ongoing Covenant Family of God Gradually Raised to Its Maturity in Love Through a Complete Series of 7 Covenants
The Early Church Fathers said “Abel was a Christian” even though he lived thousands of years before Christ because they recognized that Abel the faithful son of Adam, who pleased God, belonged to the one ongoing human Covenant Family of God which culminated in the Christian Church of Jesus Christ the New Adam. The New Testament in Romans 11 refers metaphorically to this one ongoing “Family Tree” of the Covenant Family of God as the cultivated “Olive Tree” of God’s faithful people, most recently made up of the Jewish people before the Gentile Christians were “grafted in” but also including Abel and Noah and Shem all those faithful to God long before Abraham, the ancestor of the Jews.
The Weekly “Sabbath” Day of Rest – Marking either the Original Creation and Covenant on the “7th Day” (Saturday) or Marking the Beginning of the New Creation in the Resurrected Body of Jesus on the “8th Day” (Sunday) and His New Covenant – Is a Common Feature of All of the Individual Covenants Which Together Make up God’s One Ongoing Covenant Family
Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the previous Covenants but to fulfill them. Thus many elements of the older Covenants (five in the Old Testament) are simply continued largely unaltered in Jesus’ New Covenant (such as the 10 Commandments), and other elements are continued but transformed in Jesus’ New Covenant, such as the Passover Liturgy which was transformed and altered to become the Eucharistic or Holy Communion Liturgy and the Saturday Sabbath which was transformed into a Sunday Sabbath.
The Seventh Day (Saturday) Sabbath which marks the Creation of the world and the Covenant made with Adam/humanity was continued unaltered in all the later Old Testament Covenants, demonstrating the continuity of the one ongoing Covenant Family, and it was later transformed in the New Covenant into an “Eighth Day” (Sunday) Sabbath celebration which superceded the “Seventh Day” Sabbath because it marked the beginning of the New Creation in the Resurrected and Glorified Body of Jesus (which happened on Sunday), and the New Covenant made with Jesus the New Adam. The Bible tells Christians to expect a future resurrection of our bodies which will be like Jesus’ resurrected and glorified body, and a “New Heavens and a New Earth,” but this New Creation began on Easter Sunday with the resurrection and glorification of Jesus’ physical body which had once been part of the original Creation. Thus it is totally appropriate that Christians frequently apply Old Testament texts about keeping the Sabbath holy to the weekly Christian Sunday celebration of the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Sunday is the New Covenant weekly Sabbath which marks the New Creation and New Covenant begun on Easter Sunday as the Saturday Sabbath in the older Covenants marked the original Creation and original Covenant on the first Saturday.
The Created Universe or Cosmos – the ‘Cosmic Temple’ and Family Home God the Father of Love Originally Made to Live with His Adopted Human Family
In the original Hebrew, the Bible uses the same terms to describe the Creation as it does to describe the later Tabernacle and Temple where God dwells. The Earth, Eden, and the Garden of Eden in Creation deliberately parallel the Outer Court, Holy Place, and Holy of Holies of the Temple. This is because the Creation or Cosmos was originally made as a Cosmic Temple where God would dwell with His beloved human creation. 12-year-old Jesus called the Temple “My Father’s House,” and the Cosmic Temple of the Universe before sin entered it was likewise the House the Father built to live in with His adopted children. The material universe is the material Family Home which God the Trinitarian Family of Love built specifically for humanity which is made of material bodies joined to eternal spirits. The Universe is the Family Home God made for humanity which He made in His Image and Likeness specifically in order to adopt them into His Heavenly Eternal Family. Adam/humanity originally lived in the Garden of Eden, which is the Holy of Holies of that Cosmic Temple of Creation. The sin of humanity in its ancestor Adam caused humanity to lose the ability to freely walk in the Garden of Eden, the Holy of Holies where God is most fully present in His material Creation. The later Tabernacle and Temple in the later Old Testament Covenants would symbolize this primordial loss of humanity because no-one could enter the Holy of Holies without being struck dead because sinful humanity cannot survive in the supremely Holy Presence of the God who is “a consuming fire” of infinitely burning Love. Only the High Priest could enter, once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), to offer a sin offering of a spotless lamb which prefigured the atoning sacrifice of Jesus who is both the High Priest of the New Covenant and the spotless Lamb of God who is sacrificed in a supreme act of self-giving Love, like God Loves within the Holy Trinity. The Old Testament High Priests would go into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement with a rope tied around their ankles so the other priests could pull him out without going in themselves, in case he was struck dead for doing the slightest thing wrong in the Holy of Holies which was the place where God dwelt most fully in Creation, the place on Earth most close to Heaven where “nothing impure will ever enter” (Revelation 21:27). Jesus the New Adam and High Priest of the New Covenant who sacrifices Himself as the spotless Lamb of God restores through His loving obedience to His Father unto death what Adam and his descendants (humanity) lost through unloving disobedience to his Creator who had become his Father through the 7th Day Adamic Covenant: the indwelling Holy Spirit of supernatural adoption into God’s Family. This means that human beings as renewed in Jesus, as long as we remain in Him as members of His Body, are now able to once more enter the Holy of Holies, the Presence of God, and this was symbolized by the tearing of the veil of the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple when Jesus died. As members of the Body of Jesus Christ the High Priest who has made the atoning sacrifice, there is no longer a barrier preventing us from coming into the Holy Presence of God – in fact the Bible says we now are the Temple wherein God’s Divine Holy Spirit dwells on Earth. The intensely meaningful symbolism of the Temple as representing that Cosmic Temple of Creation God built as a Family Home for His adopted human children also continues through to the last book of the Bible. The Old Testament Temple’s Holy of Holies was a cube-shaped room in the Temple, and in the Book of Revelation’s rich imagery the Heavenly City of the New Jerusalem is described as being cube-shaped – Heaven, where “nothing impure will ever enter,” is a Holy of Holies big enough for everybody, representing the restoration and fulfillment of the Garden of Eden’s role as the Holy of Holies of the original Cosmic Temple of Creation in which the first Adam initially functioned as High Priest. The “New Heavens and New Earth,” after Christ returns, when the whole Creation is renewed and transformed as the human body of Jesus (the New Covenant High Priest) was after His resurrection, will completely represent the fulfillment of Jesus’ redemption, when the whole cosmos once more truly functions as the Family Home God made for His adopted human Covenant Family to live forever with Him. This will be the period of the 7th , Eternal Covenant which Christians look forward to after Christ returns. Seven is the number of completion in the Bible, since the original Creation and Covenant were completed on the 7th Day, and this future 7th, Eternal Covenant will complete the five major Old Testament Covenants which prepared for the 6th, New Covenant of Jesus Christ in which we Christians live restored to the indwelling Holy Spirit of adoption but still await our “full” adoption by God in “the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22,23).
Salvation Is a Work of the Whole Trinity of Love: God the Father of Love Sent Jesus the Son of Love Incarnate to Restore to Humanity the Indwelling Holy Spirit of Love Which Makes Us Supernaturally Adopted Children of God
It is important to remember that everything God does in the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, is done by the Trinitarian God who is Love, and doing it in accordance with His character as Love and as Family (much deficient theology which compromises God’s character as Love has been done by Christians who forget this). In the Godhead God the Father is self-giving love who eternally gives Himself completely in love, holding nothing back, which eternally generates God the Son, who also eternally gives of Himself completely in love, holding nothing back, and the Holy Spirit is the Love Proceeding eternally in both directions, from the Father through the Son back to the Father.1 So God the Father is the fountain of the Eternal Love which is God, and He must not be envisioned as anything but a Loving Father (sadly, His fatherly character has often been maligned even by well-meaning Christian theologians). It was so important to God that He be humanity’s Father that He bound Himself to humanity/adam as its adopted Father by legal Covenant even before the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit was lost by Adam, so that He remains the adopted Father of all humanity whether or not they remain faithful in family love to any of His ongoing Covenants. Remembering that God is humanity’s loving Father, we can see that if God is a lawmaker and a judge, His laws are the Family Rules governing His Family household for the children’s protection and His courtroom for judgement is the Family Living Room. If God expresses wrath or anger, He expresses it as a loving father whose anger is provoked most by His children disregarding His rules which were lovingly made for their own protection from harm to body, soul, or spirit . As a father myself I can testify that my anger likewise comes out most strongly precisely when my beloved children are doing something by which they could harm themselves, and my rage is displayed in such moments in order to shock them into stopping doing whatever they are doing by which they can or will be harmed if they do not stop. There are, sadly, too many Christians who display to the world a notable lack of charity and love towards certain groups of human beings, usually groups of human beings who believe in other religions than Christianity or who commit certain sins. These Christians, sadly, feel somehow justified in their anger and even hatred towards whole groups of human beings Jesus died for because God showed wrath or anger in the Bible. But they do not understand the nature of God’s wrath in the Bible and how very different it is from their own anger, hatred, or unforgiveness towards sinners and followers of other religions. The Bible does not say “God is wrath (and He sometimes loves)” but that “God is Love” – and thus although He sometimes expresses wrath or anger He does this out of the love that He is. The Bible says God is the Father from whom all fatherhood on Earth is named. Therefore my own experience as a father is a valid source of insight into God the Father, as my human fatherhood is made “in the image” of His Divine Fatherhood. So if I, in my pathetic human weakness as a human father, in my own gross imperfection of love, can still say that I get the most severely angry at my children and shout at them the loudest only when they are harming or about to harm themselves due to their not obeying the loving family rules made for their protection, how much more must we recognize that when God, who is Himself the Perfection of Love, gets angry, He does so only out of His very nature as Love, out of loving concern for His disobedient children and loving concern for their well-being in body, soul, and spirit. I would yell angrily at my children about to step into the road and be hit by a car because of their disobedience to the family rule made for their protection not to play on the road because I love them and I hope the sound of my rage will shock them into stopping their disobedient actions whereby they are about to harm themselves by running onto the road. God the Father similarly gets angry out of His loving concern for His disobedient children and sends judgement which He intends to motivate repentance and obedience to the Family Rules (Laws) which keep His Covenant children safe from spiritual harm. Satan’s name literally means the Accuser, and it is Satan the Accuser of humanity for their sins who wants human beings to be destroyed in Hell, not the God who is Love. So my challenge to those Christians who feel justified in their anger or hatred towards sinners and non-Christians because of God’s anger and wrath in the Bible is this: Examine your feelings and if the wrath or anger YOU feel at sin or error is not out of loving concern for how they are harming themselves as well as others, then it is not God’s anger but Satan the Accuser’s anger you have, and I remind you that you are called by your baptism to imitate the God of Love, not Satan the Accuser (doing so will win over many more sinful and misled human souls to Jesus, as the Father of Love wishes).
A Brief Review of the Long History of the Old Testament Covenant Family Becoming Mature Enough to No Longer Take Adoption by God for Granted
The readiness of humanity for the restoration of the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit took a long time, because time and time again immature humanity would break away even from the lesser bonds of Covenant Family relationship with God, but God was patient. The original faithful line of the Covenant Family were the descendants of Adam through his son Seth: the Sethites. The Sethite “sons of God” (Genesis 6:2,4) who “called upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26) were eventually corrupted thoroughly through intermarriage (Genesis 6:2) with the murderous and sinful civilization descended from Cain, the world’s first murderer (the patriarchs of this other civilization descended from Adam are listed in Genesis 4:17-24), which motivated God to send the Flood and start over with Noah, the last faithful Sethite, and his family.
Noah’s ambitious son Ham soon broke away from the faithful line of the Covenant Family, his descendants becoming the Egyptians and Canaanites and many other nations initially scattered by God for building the city and tower of Babel in direct defiance of God’s command to both Adam and Noah and their descendants to “fill the Earth” – the major portion of humanity becoming estranged from the Covenant Father, and gradually coming up with their own ideas of how to live and how to worship (including worshiping mere man-made idols and pantheons of nature gods – the Canaanites even committed maternal incest as an act of worship, and sacrificed babies to Molech in fire). While some Hamites seem to have maintained a genuine Covenant Family connection with God for some time,2 the faithful line of the Covenant Family continued primarily in the descendants of Noah through his specially blessed first-born son Shem, known as the Semites. The descendants of the Semite Eber, apparently a great Patriarch who lived 464 years, became known as the Hebrews.3 However, even many lines of Semites and Hebrews were not able to remain faithful to the Covenant Father long-term and we are not even told the circumstances of their eventual falling away. While Abraham and Isaac will want their sons to marry Semites and Hebrews from their family rather than Hamites and Canaanites from the area they lived in, even these Semites and Hebrews close to Abraham often have a compromised faith – Abraham’s daughter-in-law Rebekah’s father (and Jacob/Israel’s uncle and father-in-law) Laban will seem to have connection with the LORD yet also have idols or “household gods.”
With such inconsistency even among the Semites and Hebrews, God took the particularly faithful Semite and Hebrew known as Abram and made a “grant covenant” with “Abram the Hebrew” (Genesis 14:13) specifically (who was renamed Abraham), promising Abraham that eventually all the (fallen away) nations of the entire world of humanity would be blessed through Abraham’s descendants (that is, restored to Covenant Family membership in good standing, no longer estranged from God the Covenant Father – and even restored to supernatural adoption).
Abraham himself had many sons whose descendants became nations, and we are not told the circumstances of their eventual falling away from full and proper faith in the true God under the simple terms of the Noahic and Abrahamic Covenants to which they belonged as descendants of Noah and Abraham. The Midianites descended from Abraham’s son Midian (through his wife Keturah after Sarah died) seem to have kept much of the true faith, as little of it as had been revealed in the early Covenants, for hundreds of years at least, for the Midianite High Priest Jethro who becomes the father-in-law of Moses seems to have a faith not far removed from that of Moses, though tainted with polytheism. The Arabs, descended from Abraham’s oldest son Ishmael (whom God promised He would bless and make the Patriarch of a great nation – Genesis 17:20), still today are consciously aware of being descended from Abraham (they even still get circumcised at age 13, which is how old Ishmael was at the time God instituted the Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham – Genesis 17:24-26), and the Islamic religion they have built is still the closest major world religion to Judeo-Christianity – despite their flaws they have maintained more of the true faith than those descended from Noah but not from Abraham.4
But God particularly chose the line of Abraham’s descendants through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob (renamed Israel) as His chosen instrument through which He would eventually bless the whole world of nations and restore the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The descendants of the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel became known as the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. These Israelites were the faithful line specially chosen by God as His instrument to bring about the restoration of all the nations to good standing in God’s one ongoing Covenant Family. God calls Israel His “first-born son” (Exodus 4:22) among the nations of humankind, all of whom are God’s sons by the earlier covenants with Adam and Noah (and some through the covenant with Abraham but not that with Moses), and God gives His “first-born son” Israel a mission to bring all the “other son” nations back into living in the covenant family household. At first Israel is not up to the task – in fact at first Israel is no better than the other nations at keeping the covenant, although Israel is much better at repenting and coming back to the Covenant Father soon after falling away. Israel’s history between the Egyptian captivity and the Babylonian captivity is one of a constant “back-and-forth” between worshiping God the Covenant Father and worshiping idols, and during this time most of the Tribes of Israel fall away from God permanently and are scattered among the nations, leaving only the Tribe of Judah, the Jews, as God’s (mostly) faithful Covenant Family. The Jews themselves still go “back and forth” between God and idols until the Babylonian captivity, at which time their addiction to idol worship is finally cured and the Jews finally become the mature Covenant children God had wanted all this time, regularly and consistently willing to DIE rather than deny God their Covenant Father. Jesus said, “greater love has no man than this, than to give his life for his friends.” Self-sacrificial love is the most mature form of love, which imitates the total self-giving love between the Persons of the Holy Trinity of Love. The Jews, while still imperfect, had at last come to the point of proving they would not take the gift of Covenant Adoption for granted, but would die rather than lose it. This meant they were ready for the restoration of the supernatural adoption, which they would also not take for granted and lose easily (as Adam had).
At this point, “in the fullness of time” (which must be considered at least partially dependant upon the at last consistent maturity in love of the Jews after the Babylonian Exile) God the Father, 1st Person of the Holy Trinity, would send God the Son, 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, the only natural (not adopted) Son of God, Incarnate (enfleshed through His human mother, the Virgin Mary), to become the New Adam, the New Head of redeemed humanity, undoing the results of Adam’s disobedience with the New Adam’s obedience unto death on a cross, so as to restore the indwelling Holy Spirit of supernatural adoption, 3rd Person of the Holy Trinity, first to the Jews who had been made ready, and then through their ministry to all humanity redeemed and made new by their incorporation into the Body of Jesus Christ the New Adam (the Church) through their “belief and baptism” (Mark 16:16 – baptism being the New Covenant Oath, the formal New Covenant Adoption ritual) . Because Jesus is fully human, like Adam, He is qualified to be the New Adam, the new Head of Redeemed humanity. Because, in the mystery of the Incarnation, Jesus is also fully God, unlike Adam He can never lose the gift of the Holy Spirit which Adam lost so easily. And we human beings, still struggling with sin, can have a secure grip on the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit like Adam never had as long as we remain in Jesus Christ, the New Adam, as members of His Body the Church.5
This New Covenant People, the Church of Jesus Christ, made up first of the Jews who God raised to maturity in the Old Testament and then the previously fallen-away nations the Jewish Christians preached the Gospel to, has the indwelling Holy Spirit of adoption restored to them, but still lives in the Creation, and the material bodies, which were all wounded by Adam’s Original Sin – and thus Saint Paul in the New Testament writes that our souls renewed in Christ by His Holy Spirit still live in “the body of death” (Romans 7:24) with which we Christians still struggle, making us still prone to sin (see Romans 7:14-25), and indeed:
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit [that is, we Christians who have had the indwelling Holy Spirit restored to us], groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22,23)
So although our souls have been renewed by the indwelling Holy Spirit of adoption, there is a sense where our adoption as supernatural children of God is not yet complete, until the resurrection and glorification of our bodies as Christ’s human body was resurrected and glorified, to live in the New Creation of the New Heaven and New Earth (in the “Cosmic Temple” of Creation which God built as the home in which He would live with His adopted children, restored and elevated). This explains Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom, referring to the Church Family on Earth (the Church being the place on Earth where Christ reigns as King), which indicate there are both “wheat and weeds” in the Church, and the weeds will be weeded out but not until the end. We are “provisional” members of the Church Family, and can lose our supernatural adoption through unconfessed fatal/mortal or relationship-breaking sin (see the Scriptures and lengthy discussion in the last footnote, #5, by scrolling to the bottom of this webpage). Thus the New Covenant Family of the Church on Earth, in its 2000 year history, has continued the pattern of failure, imperfection, and sin alongside victorious loving obedience which was typical of the previous Covenant Families – which just shows that God is still raising His one ongoing Covenant Family to be more and more like Him in the perfection of Love, we have not yet arrived at our full maturity for which we still long, although the New Covenant Family, greatly strengthened by the restoration of the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit, has reached greater heights of love with greater consistency because we represent humanity faithful to the Covenant living at a greater level of maturity. However, we, as redeemed humanity of the current time, only got to this level of maturity in love because God very patiently raised humanity to greater heights of love since the time of Adam’s Fall from the life of Grace, through a series of Covenants which gradually made humanity ready to receive once again the gift of the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit and not lose it easily this time, as Adam did.
Summary of the Faithful Line of the Covenant Family
Note that in the period of each individual covenant, that is, each stage of maturity of the one ongoing Covenant Family, large portions of the faithful line of the Covenant Family gradually fell away – producing broken off branches of the Covenant Family (who then lived independently of God and gradually came up with their own ideas about Him) – such that the new faithful line was a subset of the previous faithful line.
The faithful among the descendants of Adam were the Sethites (descendants of Adam’s son Seth). Eventually almost all the Sethites fell away and the faithful among the descendants of Seth (the Sethites), were the Semites (descendants of the Sethite Noah’s son Shem). Eventually the faithful among the Semites were the Hebrews (descendants of the Semite Eber), and eventually the faithful among the Hebrews were the Israelites (descendants of “Abraham the Hebrew”’s grandson Jacob/Israel). Eventually many Israelites fell away and the faithful from among the Israelites were the Jews (from the Israelite Tribe and Southern Kingdom of Judah). Eventually many Jews lost contact with God’s messengers (He even sent His Son, as in the Parable of the Vineyard) and the faithful among the Jews were the Christian (or “Messianic”) Jews, who, empowered by Messiah Jesus and the restored indwelling Holy Spirit, started finally bringing back all the many previously fallen away lines of the Covenant Family, the prodigal sons of the earlier covenant families, into a Universal New Covenant Church where all the nations restored to faithfulness to the Covenant Family make up Rites or Sister Churches in the Catholic (Universal) Communion.
© 2007, 2009 Peter William John Baptiste SFO
Go To Next Section What the Parable of the Prodigal Son and His Loving Father Tells Us About Father God’s Intentions Towards Both the Faithful (Jewish) and Fallen Away (Gentile) Nations of Humanity Descended from Adam and Noah
1That the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father through the Son back to the Father” is a concise encapsulation of the more detailed Trinitarian teaching of the 17th Ecumenical Council at Florence in 1439. At this Council the Christian East and West together pooled their insights into the fundamental Christian doctrine of the Trinity and came up with the Christian Church’s most precise and detailed dogmatic definition of the Trinity, the primary doctrine of Christianity. See my book-length essay Love Unbounded: Tracing Salvation History from the Eternal Trinity to the New Covenant Church – Using Family Theology to Answer the Question “How and Why Does Jesus’ Death Save Us?”
2For example Nimrod, the “mighty hunter before the LORD” who founded Nineveh (Genesis 10:8-12), a city which God would later save from destruction through sending the Israelite Prophet Jonah to call them back to living according to the Noahic Covenant without requiring them to become Israelites; and Abimelech, who talked with God quite naturally and had a “clear conscience” before the LORD which God confirmed (Genesis 20:3-6). It seems they had a good relationship with God the Covenant Father through the Noahic Covenant even though they were not Semites.
3While no personal details of Eber are recorded, he must be important, for the Bible specifically points out that “Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber,” and ends the first genealogy of Noah’s son Shem with Eber’s grandsons (Genesis 10:21-31). The second genealogy of Shem (Genesis 11:10-26), which traces Shem’s line all the way to Abraham, adds the details of Eber’s age of 464 years – plenty of time for him to become a great Patriarch and founder of a tribe or civilization, such that hundreds of years later his descendants (including the Israelites) would still be calling themselves Hebrews, descendants of Eber, as well as Semites, descendants of Shem.
4It is also very significant that when God initially makes a Covenant with Abram (before he was renamed Abraham) in Genesis 15, God promises Abram’s descendants will possess a massive territory in the Middle East (Genesis 15:18-21) which is exactly where the Arabs – Abraham’s descendants through Ishmael – live to this day. When God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and establishes a more detailed Covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17, God specifies that He will continue to further establish His Covenant with Abraham’s son Isaac (who is yet to be conceived – verse 19), and says that He is giving only the land of Canaan (later called the land of Israel!) to Abraham’s descendants (verse 8) – that is, the huge territory of the Middle East is for all of Abraham’s descendants, while the small territory within the Middle East of Canaan (Israel) is for the descendants of Abraham through Isaac (Israelites/Jews) specifically – and this is indeed where Ishmaelites (Arabs) and Israelites (Jews) live today!
5That is, as long as we remain incorporated into Jesus Christ the only natural Son of God without the unconfessed fatal/mortal (relationship-breaking) type of sin which grieves or blasphemes the Holy Spirit of our adoption. See 1 John 5:16-17 where the Bible distinguishes between sins of Christian brothers “which do not lead to death” (the kind we Christians, in our human imperfection, commit every day) and sins of Christian brothers “which lead to death” (sins which kill the Life of Grace in our souls if unconfessed and continued, breaking our relationship with God). The Catholic tradition calls these Biblical categories of sin “venial” sin and “mortal” (deadly) sin. Such relationship-breaking sin is deliberately chosen serious sin which tells God the Father we want this sin more than we want Him, which tells the Father we no longer want to be an adopted part of His Family, which tells the Father we no longer want the Holy Spirit of our adoption to indwell us, and which, if unconfessed until our physical death, thus leads to spiritual death (see 1 John 5:16b). Such “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” “will not be forgiven” (see Matthew 12:31, Luke 12:10, Mark 3:29), because it is the indwelling Holy Spirit of adoption which makes us adopted members of God’s Family, and without it we cannot enter Heaven, God’s Family Home. Those who “endure to the end” incorporated into Christ without such relationship-breaking unconfessed sin “will be saved” – Matthew 10:22; see also 1 Corinthians 9:23-27, 1 Timothy 4:16, Colossians 1:21-23. Although the Bible warns us in these passages and others that we can potentially lose our saving relationship with God if we do not “endure to the end” in our faith, the Bible also gives us excellent reason to be confident that “he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 1:6). It is difficult for anyone at all serious about their Christianity to commit a truly relationship-breaking sin. We are not meant to be scrupulous, wondering if every little time we fail to live up to God’s perfection we have disinherited ourselves from His Family – we are meant to be confident in our “adoption as sons” by God. We cannot lose our salvation so long as we take these Biblical warnings seriously and thus do not get lazy in our Christian life but deliberately continue to be “God’s co-workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9), determined to not allow ourselves to fall into a sinful lifestyle but instead to “work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling”(Philippians 2:12) through our co-operation with “God who works in [us]” (Philippians 2:13) – freely co-operating with the empowering Grace God offers to all His children, which we are free to co-operate with and thus grow in holiness and free to resist and thus fall into sin (as we prove every time we sin). I realize that some Protestant readers will come from some Protestant traditions which teach that one cannot lose their salvation (I myself was raised in such a tradition), but quite frankly, this doctrine simply does not respect all the Scriptures testify to on the topic. This doctrine pits one set of Scriptures which speak of our reasons for great confidence in our salvation against another set of Scriptures which clearly speak of our ultimate salvation as a future event and warn us that we can possibly lose it. To truly respect the whole Bible as the inspired Word of God requires a doctrine which incorporates all the Scriptures, a doctrine which is confident in our ultimate salvation in the future on the basis of our adoption by God through the Holy Spirit without taking it for granted and thus possibly losing our motivation to “endure until the end,” which the Bible clearly and repeatedly testifies is necessary.