The Spiritual Ratchet

Mechanical Ratchet

Have you ever ridden a bicycle that clicked when you quit pedaling, or used a socket wrench that clicked when you cranked it backward? If so, you were using a ratchet, which is a mechanical device that prevents backward motion.

Apostle Paul detailed the spiritual version of that mechanical ratchet:

Philippians 3:13-16
(13) Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
(14) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(15) Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
(16) Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

The “it” in verse thirteen points to Paul’s powerful and complex statement in verses ten through twelve. Sound intimidating? It certainly could be, unless you pray for understanding.

Verse thirteen is the spiritual ratchet in the title, and it is the key to consistently moving forward in your walk with Christ. Apostle Paul expressed these thoughts as of utmost importance, so he obviously did not consider backsliding an option. And neither should we.

Maybe I should define “backsliding,” so we’ll have a common understanding of this thorny subject. When an organism’s cells quit reproducing, it not only quits growing, but it begins to decay. Why? Because it is dead. The same idea applies spiritually. When we quit growing in Christ, we’re spiritually dead.

So, how do you know when you’re spiritually dead? That’s easy, just take your spiritual temperature. Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) Does that mean you’re no longer “saved”?

This is where the subject gets thorny. Throughout church history, controversy has raged between those who believe “once saved, always saved,” and those who believe we can loose our salvation. I personally fall in neither camp, as both ideas are Scriptural … more or less.

Since scholars have written countless tomes on the subject, usually trying to prove their own preconceptions, I’ll not try to deal with it here. But I think I’m safe in saying, if you’re counting on your eternal security to compensate for your vain pride, worldly attitudes, and lifestyle, you’re self-deceived, and guilty of the sin of presumption. If that’s the case, I suggest you need repent and get truly saved. Then install that spiritual ratchet so you’ll keep moving forward.


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