Often times Christians begin to get weary of doing good. Some become overwhelmed by the faith and by the church. What does the Bible have to say about these thoughts? Actually the Bible proclaims a warning that would be very applicable to those in these positions. This warning dismisses the claim that once a person is “saved” that they are “always saved.” When this warning sounds forth there is no room for such arguments. And as stressful as this warning may sound, the Word of God proclaims a promise that will ease the burden.
What is the warning? I will tell you, but will you pray with me first?
I. Warning: “He who Endures to the End will be Saved”
There is an essential warning the echoes throughout the whole of Scripture. The OT, the NT, and the Lord Jesus Himself have proclaimed this warning. Jesus said in Matthew 10:22 “you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved” and again in Matthew 24:12-13 “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Salvation is the issue that this warning hinges on and it is our primary concern. We know that there is wrath to come and we have vivid illustrations of it in Scripture. We desire to be saved from that wrath that God will pour out on “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” And so the hair on the back of our necks and on our arms stands up when we hear this warning.
There are two parts of the warning:
1. We must Endure
Endurance is a hallmark of success and usefulness and it is a crucial characteristic of the Christian faith. That great chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13, says, “Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
2. Endure to the End
What is the root of the word endure? It is END. A race is not about those who begin it or even run in it for a while, but is about those who run with patient endurance the race that is set before them. A race is about those who cross the finish line. What is the end? There are many ends to endure: Life, Age (tribulation), Time.
READ Colossians 1:21-23- This is the Word of God
1. “Continue in the faith”
2. Be “established and firm”
3. “Not moved away from the hope of the Gospel”
We are “reconciled…holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” [IF]
Continuance is the test of this reality.
We have a responsibility for our salvation yet, you will notice, it is not the one who works to the end who will be saved but the one who endures to the end. Jesus says in Matthew 7, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
God desires something more than just going through the motions. Looking the part and playing the part of a follower of Christ does not earn one salvation. This is exactly what Jesus told the woman at the well. He said, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”
I have used the phrase “faith rest” before and today I would like to expound upon it. We have been warned that it is only those who endure to the end who will be saved; those who “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” But there is also a promise made by Scripture which will ease the burden of this warning. Let us turn there and read.
READ Philippians 1:6- This is the Word of God
II. Promise: “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it”
Here is the promise. God will do the saving work in us. He will finish what He started.
God does an inside-out job. He leaves no detail out. And here is the good thing-
When we allow Him to do what we ultimately can’t, He has all of the knowledge, all of the power, all of the resources, and all of the authority necessary to get the job done. Why would we not put something as precious as our souls into His hands? In Him is life.
The Gospel has logic at its core. If we are initially saved by faith in Christ Jesus then we are certainly saved ultimately by faith in Christ Jesus. Thus I can teach as Scripture does that justification comes by faith and sanctification comes by faith. We are neither justified or sanctified by works which is why Paul asks the Galatians, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” It is the Spirit’s work through and through.
This may sound to some as if there is nothing for a person to do. Is there anything that we do? The answer is YES! We must endure to the end by faith in Jesus Christ. You must know that you are safe in Him [IF] you continue in the faith. There is no room for thinking that God will work salvation in us and we can do whatever. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” We died to sin and live unto God. Yield to the work of His Spirit which is done by the authority of His Word.
Patiently Endure: In Love (Matthew 24:12) and Despite Persecution (Matthew 24:9-11).
We have been warned that we have the responsibility to endure to the end if we expect to be saved, yet we have been promised that God will complete in us what He started.
So may we say with the Apostle “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
It is clear, by the warnings given in Scripture, that there will be those who begin the race who will not finish the race. And there will be those who appeared to be faithful, but all they did was work, work, work and not worship the Father in spirit and I truth whom Jesus will tell to depart.
We have been warned once again that it is those who continue in the faith and endure to the end that will be saved from the wrath to come. We need to rest in faith knowing that God will finish in you as an individual what He started and He will finish in this church what He started. But it will only be by yielding to His Spirit and remaining faithful to His Word.
“Do NOT grieve the Holy Spirit of God.”
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”