By David J. Stewart
Proverb 24:16, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”
Chapter 14 — A Just Man Falleth Seven Times
Christians at best are people, and people at best are sinners. No one can live above sin all the time. If we could, we would be sinless like Christ. Only Jesus is without sin. II Corinthians 5:21, "For He [God the Father] hath made Him [God the Son] to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Thankfully, God will one day replace this old corruptible body with an incorruptible body. I Corinthians 15:52,53, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." Amen! What a day that will be. But until that glorious day, we will always be at war with the flesh. I Peter 2:11, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." The Bible calls fleshly lusts "a war against the soul." A war is won fighting one battle at a time.
King David was called a man after God's own heart in I Samuel 13:14b, "The LORD hath sought Him a man after His own heart." Tragically, David coveted Uriah's wife, Bath-sheba, committed adultery with her, impregnated her, and then murdered her husband to hide the sin (II Samuel 11:1-17). What a horrible king! How could such a rotten person be a man after God's own heart? It just proves that even the best of Christians mess up big sometimes. Every believer struggles with the sinful flesh on a daily basis. David was a man after God's own heart because David loved God's Word. Psalm 119:140, "Thy word is very pure: therefore Thy servant loveth it." Yet, David ruined his life because of sin. His reputation was ruined. His friends and own family turned against him. He lost his throne for a time and his beloved son Absalom was executed. David's first child by Bath-sheba died. David paid dearly for his sins. In Psalm 51:3,4,12, we read David's prayer of repentance unto God, "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit." Notice that David did not ask God to save him again; but rather, to restore the "joy" of salvation. Also notice that David calls it "Thy salvation." Salvation belongs to God alone, that is His department. Our part is to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (Acts 16:31).
No believer has God's permission to sin. Romans 3:31 plainly states, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." And again in Romans 6:15, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." These Scriptures clearly teach that believers are no longer under the curse of the Law; but rather, are under God's saving grace by faith in Christ Jesus. We are under grace and salvation is completely in God's hands. Nevertheless, some believers do choose to live in sin, as witnessed in the lives of many of God's men in the Bible. Noah got drunk (Genesis 9:21). Samson had sex with a prostitute (Judges 16:1). Abraham and Sara doubted God, laughing at His promise (Genesis 17:16,17). Jeremiah quit preaching God's Word (Jeremiah 20:9). Isaiah had unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5). Jonah fled from God's will (Jonah 1:10). Peter cursed the name of Jesus and denied knowing Him (Mark 14:71). The Apostle Paul said he struggled with sin continually (Romans 7:14-25). These are just a handful of examples of believer's who struggled with sin in their lives.
Proverb 24:16 states, "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." Everyone fails at times when it comes to living right. Even the most mature of Christians mess up. If we were perfect we wouldn't need a Savior. Yet, there is a vast difference between the heart's attitude of the righteous versus the wicked. Many people don't even try to live right anymore. The nicknaming of Las Vegas to the hideous "SIN CITY" is evidence of this. What a mockery of God! I can assure you that what HAPPENS in Vegas is recorded in Heaven! God will not be mocked. Galatians 6:7, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." It is no trifle matter with God when men live in sin, defying the Word of God, indulging in that which God calls abominations.
Here are three Scriptural principles to help us live right for God:
- Psalm 119:11, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." This is reading, studying and memorizing the Scriptures. Remember, sin is the breaking of God's Laws. All sin is against God.
- Mark 14:38, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." Prayer is asking. We need to continually pray about everything, trusting upon the Lord through prayer.
- Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave himself for me." God doesn't merely want to help us live the Christian life; but rather, to live the Christian life through us.
A genuine born-again believer cannot live in sin without being convicted by God's Holy Spirit. Hebrews 12:7,8, "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." The Bible teaches that a true believer will be chastened (disciplined) by God. A person who does not have the Holy Spirit living within their body is not saved. Romans 8:9b, "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." It is God's Spirit that causes the believer to desire to please God, to get back up when we sin and try to do better, to ask God to lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. The unsaved person doesn't have God's Spirit living within them, and doesn't care about living right. The wicked parade their sins publicly and defend their wickedness as being acceptable and moral, which it certainly is not. Most people who claim to be Christians nowadays are not. Most people have churchianity without Christianity. Many people think that attending Catholic mass will get them to Heaven, but Hell will be their home if they don't become born-again as Jesus commanded in John 3:3, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Many arrogant religious people will be horrified one day when they are cast into the Lake of Fire forever. In John 10:35c Jesus warned, "The Scripture cannot be broken."
The Bible openly declares that a just man, i.e., a saved man, stumbles seven times; yet riseth again. The number seven in the Bible represents God's perfection. Hence, a righteous man spends his entire life trying to live for God, while messing up along the way, and continually getting back up because he desires to please the Lord. This is exactly what Paul said in Romans 7:15, "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." The wicked are not so, but quit, and don't even try to please God. That's what Proverbs 24:16 means. The wicked person couldn't care less about pleasing God with their life. While they indulge in vile sins, they condemn the believer who stumbles even once into sin.
It is important to make a distinction between the believer who falls seven times, yet rises up again because they love Jesus; versus the unbeliever who has no desire to live right because they've never experienced genuine Biblical repentance concerning their sins. This is vastly different than losing one's salvation, which is IMPOSSIBLE. The fact that God said a just man falls down repeatedly evidences that salvation cannot be lost. Christians do sin, sometimes horribly so, but the evidence of their salvation is that godly sorrow worketh repentance, and they will hopefully, eventually, get back up for God. Yet, Paul clearly stated in I Corinthians 5:5 that a saved man can be turned over "unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Self-righteous religious people need to stop condemning those who they feel are more sinful than themselves, for they are just as sinful according to James 2:10, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." A hypocrite is someone who views another person as being a bigger sinner than them self. We're all a bunch of dirty, rotten, hell-deserving sinners.
When a backslidden believer gets right with God, that doesn't mean they're getting saved again, it just means they're getting right with their Heavenly Father. Contrary to what Pentecostals teach, king David DIDN'T lose his salvation when he sinned with Bath-sheba and murdered her husband. There is absolutely no Scriptural evidence to support the claim of Pentecostals that David lost salvation. The Bible says, "A just man falleth seven times." You can't rise up if you don't fall. Although sin is never acceptable to God, struggling with sin is an inherent part of the Christian life, because our flesh continually wars against the Spirit of God living within our body.
Here are some precious words from Psalm 103:8-14, "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." What a beautiful passage of Scripture! What a wonderful God! Our Lord knows them that fear Him and He remembers that we are dust. How ridiculous is it for anyone to teach that God takes away the birthright of His own children, kicking them out of the family of God because of sin in their life. "For a just man falleth seven times." The Bible says that fallen man "riseth up again," it doesn't say he gets saved again. The second birth cannot be undone. If saved, always saved.
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