Sunday, 6 November 2016


When we buy a new car, it usually comes with a warranty period. Within, say five years, any manufacturer’s defect will be rectified free of charge except for normal wear and tear items such as tyres and battery. Of course, we must send the car for regular maintenance at the dealer’s appointed service centres, not other workshops. Failure to meet these stipulated conditions will cause the warranty to be null and void.

Similarly, in the spiritual realm, though assurance of salvation is granted to all who believe in Christ, there are conditions attached to this promise.

First, let’s consider the assurance. God promises eternal life to those who believe in Christ:
  • “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
  • “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
  • “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
But believers often take it easy by merely resting on this assurance of salvation. It is human nature to want the goodies without having to fulfil certain conditions. To illustrate this point, let us consider the following passage:

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10:27-29).

What is the reward? Eternal life when believers leave this earth, which is a promise to all who trust in Christ.

Now, we tend to forget the conditions necessary for claiming the reward: We must hear the Shepherd’s voice (obey God). We who profess to be His sheep must follow the Shepherd’s instructions. 

In short, before God honours his promise of eternal life, we must fulfil the condition of obeying Him. Assurance of salvation does not stand alone. Assurance of salvation is only valid if we honour our side of the “agreement”—obey God.

If, after having believed in Christ, we take God for granted—willfully live in sin, deny God or renounce the faith (commit apostasy)—we will definitely not obtain eternal life at the end of life’s journey.

Another point that needs to be raised in the John chapter 10 passage above concerns our will. While God will never let us go, as He grips us tightly, we can choose to free ourselves from His grasp. Somewhere along our faith journey, we may choose to part ways with God. Though God wants to keep us safe for eternity, we may not want Him anymore. 

It is not God’s fault. God does not give up on us. He is faithful. But we can choose to give up on God. This element of human will (volition) is something we need to bear in mind. In every age and season, there will always be men and women who embrace Christ but later give up on God and become enemies of the cross.

All these workers who were once on Paul’s side did not stay faithful to him or God:
  • “You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes” (2 Tim. 1:15).
  • “Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17-18).
  • “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” (2 Tim. 4:10).
Paul tells us that God knows the ones who belong to Him—He keeps them safe for eternity—and warns that all who say they believe in God must depart from sin.

“But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity’” (2 Tim. 2:19).

No one can deceive God. He knows whether we really turn away from sin or continue to willfully live in sin.

Elsewhere, while addressing believers in Corinth, Paul emphasises the high standards for admittance into God’s kingdom:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6: 9-10).

Salvation is by faith and everyone who believes in Christ will obtain eternal life. But this blessing is only valid if we continue to be faithful and obedient. While assurance of salvation is true, there are conditions attached to this promise.


Some say that God will never forsake believers and that nothing will separate us from His love. However, has this ever crossed your mind? God may not leave us but we can walk away from God. It takes two to tango.

Why we have to be steadfast in our journey of faith.

What fate awaits those who sin repeatedly?

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