Perseverance and Solomon
Recently, I have been spending alot of time in the Old Testament. I have thoroughly consumed 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, and 1&2 Chronicles. Boy I would, if I had the time, go into many insights the Lord has given me and the blessings I have received as a result of my time spent in these books.
The preponderence of data in the New Testament uncompromisingly testifies to the fact that a true, heaven-bound Christian can ultimately fail in his Christian life. God does not drag anyone down the path of obedience. Romans 8:10 says, "And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin". The body is incapable of living anything spiritual whatsoever. What must a man do to live the Christian life through his flesh?
Paul has some commandments for us given in the imperative:
...reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and [present] your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
There are here 5 imperatival commands of Paul for the Christian. If the disposition of Christians were to do these things by virtue of regeneration alone, the commandments given here by Paul would be both superfluous and confusing. Does one need to command the sun to rise or the waves to roll or the stars to shine? It is manifest absurdity to enjoin someone or something to perform some action that it, by virtue of its inherent makeup, is inevitably disposed to do.
It follows that if the Christian does not purposefully
1) Reckon oneself dead unto sin
2) Deny sin's reigning
3) Stop presenting the members of his body as instruments of unrighteousness
4) Present himself to God as alive from the dead and
5) Present his bodily members of instruments of righteousness
he will not be sanctified and will be subject to abject, utter, and ultimate failure in his Christian life.
Not many people who read this blog would be willing to deny that Solomon, author of 3 books of the Bible and a couple of Psalms, is now in hell. But let us take a look at the end of his life as testified to by the bible.
1 Kings 11:1-12
But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites -- from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel,"You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD had commanded. Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.
What is very telling is what comes after this testimony concerning Solomon in the Scriptures. The only thing that occurs in the text between this statement and the
statement of his death is the demonstration of the Lord's wrath upon Solomon because of his rebellion. This took the form of various adversaries raised up by the Lord against Solomon, and the rebellion of Solomon's infamous servant, Jereboam of Nebat. There is no statements directing our attention to his repentance before death.
When we read the chronicles of the kings in the aforementioned books we find that the authors are very eager to tell us when a king starts out evil and becomes good, or the vice-versa. These things are instructional for their readers! The last words concerning Solomon in the text are that his heart was turned from the Lord unto idolatry, that God's wrath was meted out against him in the form of adversaries and rebellion, and that the Lord was going to tear the kingdom away from him.
We know that repentance can avert or end God's temporal wrath for sins. Solomon went to the grave being troubled by his adversaries (1 Kings 11:25) and the kingdom torn from him. And indeed his servant rebelled from him and became the king of the Northern tribes.
Oh how many times do we read of the kings being tender-hearted to God, ripping their clothes, weeping and humbling themselves before God and the result being that God relents of his wrath and/or pronouncements against them? There is no such text of Solomon repenting! Furthermore, God's hands remained heavy upon him until his death.
Finally we are met with this little bit of evidence from the life of godly king Josiah:
2 Kings 23:13-14
Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon. 14 And he broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images, and filled their places with the bones of men.
Literally hundreds of years later after Solomon's death, the shrines, groves, high places, pillars, and images which Solomon made for his idol worship were still standing!
Let me tell you how repentance is supposed to work. I remember a time when I placed the value and worship of a certain activity above God, my wife and family, and everything else. Upon reading these texts in the Old Testament, I was convicted of my sin of idolatry. In the name of Christ my Lord, I went home and destroyed all of the objects related to my sin, not sparing a single one; but completely pulvarized these objects into tiny bits and put them into the San Diego equivalent of the Brook Kidron.
Solomon died with God's hand heavy upon him and the kingdom torn from him
and the testaments to his idolatry still in place hundreds of years after his death.
Solomon died an idolator and under the wrath of God.