We have two seemingly contradictory truths: On the one hand, the Bible says that once God saves you, you’ll always be saved (e.g., John 10; Romans 8); on the other, it says that only if you endure to the end will you be saved (cf. Hebrews 3:12-14).
You have to put the two together. One of the essential marks of truly saving faith is that it endures to the end. The real doctrine of eternal security reads like this: Not only “once saved, always saved” but also “once saved, forever following.”
Having a faith that endures to the end is evidence that you possess the salvation you could never lose. Not enduring to the end is evidence you never had it to begin with.
Saving faith is staying faith.
You see, the evidence of saving faith is not the intensity of emotion at the beginning but its endurance over time. Think of it like a marriage: You don’t judge the sincerity of a marriage vow by the lavishness of the wedding ceremony but by the faithful commitment that follows it.
When it comes to God, a lot of Christians are all ceremony, no marriage.
So, we must be cautious. Beware tolerating compromise in your life. Beware being casual and complacent in spiritual growth. Beware, lest sins you let go unchecked grow up and choke out your faith.
My fear for many in the church today is what Paul’s was—that they take forgiveness for granted, assume it is their birthright, and do the very things that got Israel removed.
Maybe they prayed their prayer, and they’re satisfied to sit complacent with their “get out of hell free” card. Or maybe they follow “Prozac Jesus,” who comforts them and is their BFF in a jam. But nothing about their life says that Jesus is in charge.
If we put you on trial for being a Christian, and the only admissible testimony was that of your friends at school, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
If the only evidence we considered could come from what your spouse observes of you at home, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
If your best friends at school or those in your family don’t know that you are a Christian, you probably aren’t. Who you are in the unseen, unrehearsed moments is who you are. Period.
Friend, if God removed those branches from Israel who didn’t really walk with God and submit to his lordship, won’t he also remove you?
The only Jesus is Lord Jesus—Lord of all or not Lord at all. His lordship is demonstrated not by the confession of your lips but the obedience of your life.
This article about the dangerous complacency of the doctrine of eternal security originally appeared here.