a glorious moment it will be for believers when we are brought into God’s presence one day and enjoy eternal rest from our labours. It will be a most blessed
time filled with unspeakable joy … at last, freedom from pain, disappointment, sorrow
But the apostle Paul writes in his letter to the church at Colossae that this blessed encounter with God comes with conditions. Let’s examine Colossians 1:22-23 in various versions.
Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. BUT you must CONTINUE to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News (Colossians 1:22-23, NLT).
Yet He has now reconciled you in His body of flesh through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—IF indeed you CONTINUE in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you have heard (Colossians 1:22-23, NASB).
He has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—PROVIDED that you CONTINUE securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard (Colossians 1:22-23, NRSV).
He has now reconciled by the death of his physical body, so that he may present you holy, blameless, and without fault before him. HOWEVER, you must REMAIN firmly established and steadfast in the faith, without being moved from the hope of the gospel that you heard (Colossians 1:22-23, ISV).
And you yourselves, who were strangers to God, and, in fact, through the evil things you had done, his spiritual enemies, he has now reconciled through the death of his body on the cross, so that he might welcome you to his presence clean and pure, without blame or reproach. This reconciliation ASSUMES, of course, that you MAINTAIN a firm position in the faith, and do not allow yourselves to be shifted away from the hope of the Gospel (Colossians 1:22-23, JBP).
These verses in Colossians show us that if we fail to remain steadfast in the faith and become lukewarm—or worse, willfully live in sin, deny God or commit apostasy—we will not get to meet God in eternity; the scheduled encounter with God will never come.
Though believers are kept safe by God for eternity (Jude 24) and He will complete the good work which He began in us (Philippians 1:6), we must not forget the fact that we too have a part to play.
While God keeps us safe for eternity, we still have to exercise personal responsibility. https://bit.ly/2W7d5el
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy (Jude 24).
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh (Jude 20-23).
Though we are preserved for Jesus (Jude 1:1), we need to persevere in our faith so that we do not fall away like the Exodus generation who were saved and later destroyed (Jude 1:5). http://bit.ly/1jxUIEK
So it is clear from the above that salvation is conditional on perseverance on the part of believers. If believers continue to be steadfast in the faith, they will one day be ushered into a blessed eternity.
For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ (Hebrews 3:14, NLT).
For we have become partakers of Christ if we keep the beginning of our commitment firm until the end. (Hebrews 3:14, NASB).
For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end (Hebrews 3:14, NRSV).
For we continue to share in all that Christ has for us so long as we steadily maintain until the end the trust with which we began (Hebrews 3:14, JBP).
I trust that you will let scriptures directly speak to you first-hand instead of being influenced by clever arguments or persuasive words of man’s wisdom (read Calvinism and OSAS).
Forget about what Calvinists assert (doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints) or what Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS) adherents tell you: “No matter what happens, if you are a genuine believer you will definitely get to heaven.” Their stance is unconditional salvation, which the Bible does not teach.
Unfortunately, these false teachers are highly respectable and authoritative. Armed with impressive theological degrees, they write books and commentaries. And so many believers easily fall prey to their teachings.
God’s love is unconditional in that we can be saved, irrespective of the greatness of our sin. For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him may have everlasting life (John 3:16). But the story does not end there. If, after having believed, we fail to persevere and remain steadfast in the faith, we will not get to inherit eternal life.
To conclude, salvation is conditional on perseverance on the part of believers. If believers continue to be steadfast in the faith, they will one day be ushered into a blessed eternity.
GOD’S PART, OUR PART
In Ephesians, we are saved (forgiven and made righteous in God’s sight) by faith. But what comes next? We have to live a life evidenced by good works.
- God’s part: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
- Our part: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
In Philippians, we also see a parallel to the foregoing passage in Ephesians. God works in us, helping us to obey Him. But we too have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
- Our part: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
- God’s part: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
ONCE SAVED, FOREVER SECURE?
Some Christians believe, once they are saved, absolutely nothing can happen to them to alter their destiny. Is this true?
THE TWO SIDES OF A COIN
Though believers are kept safe for eternity, we still need to exercise personal responsibility.
POSITION VS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
How the book of Ephesians sheds light on two important aspects in our walk of faith—our position in Christ and personal responsibility
THE GREAT FALLING AWAY
The believers’ spiritual status is not static. Though we have been enlightened by the truth and transformed by the Holy Spirit, there is no iron-clad guarantee we won’t change. That’s because we are sinful by nature. And, because we have a will, we can choose to remain in God’s favour or reject Him.
IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO
Though believers in Christ are heaven-bound, there are conditions to be fulfilled before we arrive at our final destination and claim our eternal reward. Some say that God will never forsake believers and that nothing will ever separate us from His love (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20, Romans 8: 38-39). But has this ever crossed our minds? God may not leave us but we can walk away from God. It takes two to tango.http://bit.ly/1Iqnckh