How Saul Gained and Lost a Heart from God
God does a great thing when He puts the Spirit of the Lord - Christ Himself - inside of us:
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
~ Ephesians 3:16-19“
"That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" - this is the end of a work which starts with receiving the Spirit. God intends for us to grow stronger and stronger in His Spirit throughout our life.
A life lived through the Spirit is a life lived with unshakeable assurance of our unfading, eternal inheritance!
Important questions about salvation and the Holy Spirit
- Can I lose the assurance of eternal life?
- Can I fall after being born again of the Spirit?
- What happens if I have fallen back to sin and evil after receiving Christ?
- How can I stay in connection with God, keeping His Spirit?
King Saul: Chosen, born again, prophesying
The scriptures answer all of these questions. Visit 1 Samuel 10:6-10 with me. Samuel, prophet and judge of Israel, is giving Saul a list of signs to expect from God to confirm him as king of Israel.
... thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place ... and they shall prophesy:  And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.  And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.  And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.
~ 1 Samuel 10:5-8“
Here are those signs again:
- The Spirit of the Lord would come upon Saul
- He would prophesy with a group of prophets
- And be "turned into another man"
All those signs happened the same day, proving God was with Saul. In fact, God gave Saul another heart the very instant he left Samuel! God will do the same thing in the same speed for us.
And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.  And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
~ 1 Samuel 10:9-10“
One unlawful sacrifice couldn’t hurt...
Look back to verse 8 once more. It predicts a future meeting between Saul and Samuel at Gilgal. Nestled in with all the promises and signs, there's just one instruction: "Seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee." How is this related to the other signs Saul received?
Enter the scene at Gilgal, 2 years and 3 chapters later:
And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.  And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.  And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came...  And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.  But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.
~ 1 Samuel 13:8-14“
To quote Samuel and sum up Saul's mistake, "to obey is better than sacrifice." (15:22). The establishment of Saul's kingdom hinged on his obedience to God. Saul had failed his first test. What did God say? He would choose "a man after his own heart."
Missing: Saul’s converted heart
What changed from the dramatic, born again Christian experience in 1 Samuel 10?
God had given Saul "another heart," and "the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied." Yet now, God is taking the kingdom from Saul because of his disobedient heart.
Here's the answer: Saul set his will against God. He wilfully disobeyed God's commands. "Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord." Saul’s will controlled his life, not God's will.
We're in the same boat as Saul. Our will is the crucial, pivotal, hugely important factor of the Christian experience. The decisions we make directly impact the operation of God in our heart.
Let's answer those earlier questions about the Holy Spirit as we follow Saul's story.
Can I fall after being born again of the Spirit?
Yes. Saul demonstrated how disobedience quenched the Spirit.
What happens if I have fallen back to sin and evil after receiving Christ?
The blessings and promises of God are conditional. Sinners cannot inherit the kingdom of God, yet God bears long with us and will forgive every repentant sinner. God pleaded with Saul to obey for his second chance, 2 chapters on: "The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD." - 1 Samuel 15:1.
God gave simple, clear and specific commands for Saul’s second chance, just like the first chance in chapters 10 & 13. All God asked was for Saul to obey. Just like in his first chance, Saul didn’t obey, and God took the kingdom away. Read the story for yourself in 1 Samuel 15.
Because of his disobedience, Saul lost both the kingdom beneath and the kingdom above...
Can I lose the assurance of eternal life?
Saul killed himself in battle, neither feeling nor having hope beyond the grave. Here is his sad record:
So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;  And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.
~ 1 Chronicles 10:13-14“
How can I stay in connection with God, keeping His Spirit?
Don't reject or disobey the Word of God: "Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." - 1 Samuel 15:23
Rather, do God's will like David and gain the sweet assurance of Christ and eternal life!
... He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.  Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:
~ Acts 13:22-23“
Choose today the way of righteousness to find the only key to true happiness. Christ is eager to come in to you, and sup with you (Revelation 3:20).