A gracEmail subscriber in Africa asks for biblical insight regarding his present and future security as a believer in Jesus Christ, while a subscriber in China inquires about the scripture passages that warn Christians against falling away.
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Scripture contains many warnings and admonitions, and we must take them all very seriously. “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matt. 13:9). “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4). “Be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure” (2 Pet. 1:10).
In reading these statements and others like them, it is easy to miss the forest for the trees unless we keep the following larger picture in view. The books of the New Testament were written for the church on earth, not for the church in heaven. The church on earth includes two kinds of people: (1) believers, and (2) unbelievers who claim to be believers (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43). This is why many will claim at the Judgment to know Jesus, only to be told that he has never known them (Matt. 7:21-23). Jesus told the parable of the wheat and tares to teach this very lesson (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43).
Faith that is real is faith that endures. We are God’s household “if we hold fast” to the end (Heb. 3:6). Holding fast does not make us God’s household — it manifests our true identity. In the same way, a “faith” that is not genuine but is only superficial is sometimes demonstrated by permanently leaving Christ (Heb. 6:4-12; 10:26-31,39). Some scripture warnings do not concern final salvation but involve discipline, maturity or reward. Most, if not all, of the rest are telling us in different ways to be sure that our confession is genuine and our faith is real. The best evidence of all that, we will see in the next gracEmail, is that we keep our eyes on Jesus and entrust ourselves to him.
(to be continued)
I received this teaching in today’s email from Bro’ Edward Fudge.
I agree completely and Edward, as usual, stated these truths in such a succinct and powerful way I felt compelled to share what he wrote.
Agree or disagree and why?
Thanks for reading,