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Salvation:  Do we have to endure in faith to the end? 

Gary Googe Jul 23

Can a person express faith and later lose their salvation? What a debated subject this has been between preachers and churchgoers! Both the means and the security of one’s salvation has been a controversial subject in every generation.  Once a person gains salvation, can it be lost? And then if it is lost, can it be regained again.  If it can, how many times could this occur? Is there a limit? Some of such questions may seem ridiculous, but it seems to me they need to be asked and correctly answered.

As with any such subject, we need to go to the Bible for our answer.  But don’t all sides of this issue quote Scripture to back their beliefs about it? They surely do! What are we to think of that? Which group is right? I submit to you the reality that most of the division on this subject comes from people’s failure to rightly divide the Scriptures.  Haven’t we been clearly told to rightly divide the Scriptures?

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

Rightly dividing is to do with the fact that although all the Bible is FOR us, it is not all TO us or ABOUT us.  When people fail to recognize and apply this principle, they open themselves up to a tremendous amount of confusion and misunderstanding regarding a lot of subject matter in the Scriptures.  Instead of God’s people being united in their beliefs, they find themselves divided into a variety of groups that are formally called denominations.  And even within those various denominations you’ll find even more division in beliefs about a variety of subjects.

Let us begin our study of this by first noting some verses of Scripture that have caused some people to wonder about how secure their salvation is.

Ezekiel 18:24, 27

24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

Here in this passage a related statement is then made.

27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. [Emphasis added]

Is this talking about physical life, one’s spiritual life or perhaps both?  Exactly what is under discussion here? Let’s look at some more such passages.

Matthew 24:11-13

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure [HUPOMENO = to abide under, to bear up under] unto the end, the same shall be saved. [Emphasis added]

Doesn’t this indicate that those who don’t endure to the end will not be saved? If it’s not indicating that, what is it telling us?  Then we also have this next passage that has been debated extensively.

Hebrews 6:4-6

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted [GEUO = taste, used in Scripture both naturally and metaphorically], of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5 And have tasted  the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. [Emphasis added]

What a tremendous amount of debate there’s been over those verses! Some have argued that these people only “tasted” salvation; they really didn’t have it in the first place.  But note what we find in this same epistle about the use of this word—“tasting.”

Hebrews 2:9

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [Emphasis added]

Did Jesus really not die? Of course, He did! And it is faith in what He accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection that provides people with all the blessings associated with salvation.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

Obviously, these people mentioned in Hebrews 6:4-6 once believed but later turned away in unbelief.  Isn’t that what it says? Here are some other verses in Hebrews that speak of this.

Hebrews 10:26-27

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. [Emphasis added]

What does all that “judgment and fiery indignation” sound like to you? Is it any wonder that some people will quote Scripture like this to back their belief that one’s salvation is not settled and secure?

We find that the apostle Peter also spoke things along these same lines.

2 Peter 2:20-21

20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. [Emphasis added]

Even in the book of Revelation we have the apostle John writing about this.  Note the terminology he uses to describe it.

Revelation 3:5

5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. [Emphasis added]

Here it’s speaking of faithful believers who will resist the temptations that will come to people of faith in this coming time known as The Tribulation—a seven-year period after the Rapture and before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Earth.  People in this “church” [EKKLESIA = an assembly, in this case, of believing Jews] of Sardis spoken of here will be subject to having their names blotted out of the book of life mentioned here.

Once again, is it any wonder that there are people who don’t believe in “once saved always saved” or what some others speak of as “the eternal security of the believer”? As you should be able to see from this, there’s Scripture in the Bible they can recite that may seem to back their belief.  But there’s one very important question that needs to be asked about all this—What do all these writers have in common? Answer:  They are all Israelites with a message that is addressed to Israelites.  None of these passages are addressed to us as members of the Body of Christ in this present age of grace.  Not one of them! Furthermore, there’s nothing like any of this in the writings of the apostle Paul.  On the contrary, it is in his writings that we have what is specifically addressed to us today.

It is the apostle Paul who tells us that every believer of today is spiritually baptized into what is called the Body of Christ the moment they put their faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for their salvation.

1 Corinthians 12:13

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized [a spiritual baptism, not a watery one] into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [Emphasis added]

It is at this point that their salvation is secured and settled.  It is said to be securely sealed forever.

Ephesians 1:12-13

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [Emphasis added]

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

21 Now he which stablisheth [BEBAIOO = confirmed] us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;

22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. [Emphasis added]

It is passages like these that tell us our salvation today, people who live in this present Dispensation of Grace, was completely settled and sealed the moment we first put our faith in the gospel [the good news] concerning what Christ accomplished on the cross to resolve our sin problem.

Therefore, it is the apostle Paul who informs us of our situation, not Peter, John, the writer of Hebrews or others.  As we’ve noted, this thing of gaining salvation for us is completely settled when we first believe the gospel message.  But this does not appear to be the case for people prior to this present Dispensation of Grace.  Before this time, one’s salvation status was not settled until one diedPeople had to continue in faith to the end of their lives to be saved.  Such was the case for the list of “heroes” of the faith [Hebrews 11:4-11] listed in Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:13

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. [Emphasis added]

Why does he say they died in faith? Why doesn’t he just say they died? That’s because they had all continued or endured in faith until the day they died.

As with anything we study in the Bible, we need to ask to whom the passage was written.  As I mention so often, all the Bible is FOR us, but it is not all TO us or ABOUT us.  All these passages we’ve noted that were not written by the apostle Paul let us know that a person’s salvation status did not become a settled matter until the day they died.  Unlike Paul’s epistles, all those passages were addressed to Israel, not to us today.

When studying ANY part of the Bible it is always important for us to ask if what we’re reading conflicts in any way with anything written by the apostle Paul because it is this man and only this man who is said to be our apostle, the apostle of the Gentiles.

Romans 11:13

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify [MEGALUNO = to make great] mine office [DIAKONIA = ministry]: [Emphasis added]

We, too, are to “make a big deal” [as we might say it today] over his office, his teaching ministry and message.  That’s because we are told that Paul is OUR apostle, not Peter, not John or any of the others.   Their words are FOR our learning, but they are not TO us.  Failing to understand that principle leads people to many false conclusions and false teachings.

Romans 15:4

4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. [Emphasis added]

For Israel and in times prior, we are told that their salvation was not settled until the day they died.  Numerous passages of Scripture speak of this.

Matthew 10:22

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth [HUPOMENO = endure or remain, to bear up courageously] to the end shall be saved. [Emphasis added]

Matthew 24:13

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. [Emphasis added]

Again, you won’t find anything like this in the apostle Paul’s writings concerning us today.

John 8:31

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; [Emphasis added]

Here He is talking about discipleship [MATHETES = being a student] and not necessarily salvation.  But here He is apparently tying this to salvation.

Hebrews 10:39

39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. [Emphasis added]

1 Peter 1:9, 13

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind [to prepare for action], be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; [Emphasis added]

If God wanted to make it clear to His Old Testament and Jewish Kingdom Saints that they had to continue in their faith to the end of their lives to be saved, how could He have made it clearer than it is in these passages?

A favorite passage that is used to counter all this and to project the idea that they had eternal security just as we do today is John 10:28.

John 10:28

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [Emphasis added]

But all that’s stated in this verse is true.  God would protect them.  But if they made the decision to turn on Him, they would determine their own fate by their unbelief and/or rejection of HimThere’s nothing here in this passage that negates that.

People are foolish to impose all the teachings of the apostle Paul on the Old Testament people.  But this is what happens when people don’t rightly divide Scripture.

Just this morning in a Bible class I was attending, I made the statement that people make this same mistake with the promises that are given in Scripture.  Here’s one of many examples of a promise that’s made that is not to us today.  Many have “claimed it” as theirs to only be disappointed.

Matthew 7:7-8

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. [Emphasis added]

Could He have stated it any plainer? This was given to every believer in that day.  They’ll be offered this promise again in the coming time of The Tribulation.  But right now, they are not given as promises to anyone.  Many people have had to learn this the hard way, by disappointment! For more information on all this, please refer to my book—22 Key Promises You Can Count On that is available through our website—4Ua2UsMinistries.com

Conclusion—

It is wrong, disappointing, and more to incorrectly divide the Scriptures.  But there are people who do it every day.  Some even walk away in such frustration that they reject the whole Bible, Christianity, and God Himself.  Such a shame it is!  Regarding “enduring to the end,” that’s not essential for us today to “maintain” our salvation.  We actually have nothing to do with maintaining it.  It is God Who is faithful even when we are not.

2 Timothy 2:11-13

11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him [having placed our faith in Him and being forever identified with His death, burial, and resurrection]:

12 If we suffer [and we surely will to some degree], we shall also reign with him [in special blessing and reward]: if we deny him, he also will deny us [those special everlasting blessings and rewards]:

This passage is speaking of His reward of us at the Judgment Seat of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10].

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself [because we’ve been placed and sealed in union with Him forever]. [Emphasis added]

But then notice also the very next words in this passage.

2 Timothy 2:14-15

14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

What controversy and division there is about all this and a lot of other things! But the solution is then stated.

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

You can also find a complete study of the subject of this article in my book—22 Key Promises You Can Count On.  Regardless of what I’ve stated about all this in this article, isn’t it wonderful to know that when we today, in our time, first put our faith in Jesus Christ our salvation is secured forever.  That’s a reality we can all count on and rejoice over. 

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