The first thing one who becomes a Christian must realize is that God expects him to remain faithful to Him throughout the remainder of His time upon this earth. One cannot obey the gospel and think that if he continues to live a life following the ways of the world that he will be rewarded with a home in heaven after this life. A number of passages teach the importance of remaining faithful once one becomes a Christian. Jesus taught His disciples in Matt 10:22, "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." Note the condition placed upon being saved: It is enduring to the end." On another occasion, "...the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has." (Luke 12:42-44)  Here Jesus says that He expects His servants to be busy doing His will when He returns.   Paul told Timothy at the conclusion of his life, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7,8. We observe here that the reason for Paul confidence was his faithfulness until the end. On another occasion he told the Corinthians, "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2 . Finally, John in the book of Revelation wrote, "...Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation  2:10). Here it was pointed out that their faithfulness must remain, even to the point of dying, for the cause of Christ. Later he wrote, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes’, says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." (Revelation 14:13). Thus we can see that we are taught that we must remain faithful once we become Christians.

In addition to these exhortations to be faithful, there are also a number of passages that teach that one can lose his salvation after he becomes a Christian. Consider first, 2 Pet. 2:20-22. He we read, "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandments delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’"   Note two things concerning this text. #1 - The person had escaped the pollutions of the world. This cannot mean anyone but a Christian. #2 - We are told that the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. If one cannot be lost once he has been saved (and many teach this), how is it possible for the latter end to be worse? After all, those who do not escape the pollutions of the world WILL be lost, condemned to hell. The only conclusion of this text is that one who reverts back to the world WILL be lost.

Another passage to note is Galatians 5:4, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law: you have fallen from grace." Paul was addressing Christians who were entertaining the idea of submitting to Old Law, particularly the doctrine of circumcision. After concluding his reasons for it being wrong he warns them that if they accept this false doctrine that they will fall from grace. What does it mean to fall from grace? Simply, it means to be lost and stand condemned.

Continually, we find warnings in passages such as Hebrews 2:1 where we read, "Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away." and 3:12, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God". Why would warnings such as these be necessary if there were no consequences to turning away from God?

Also, consider Heb. 10:26-27, "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries." In actuality, this text is in a present tense indicating one who continues to live in willful sin. But regardless of the tense, the point is made that one who has accepted (the meaning of received) the knowledge of the truth, if they reject it, ought to be fearful of God’s judgment.

All of these passages and many others teach that one must remain faithful to God once he becomes a Christian. But what is involved in being a Christian.  The next few lessons will outline some of the responsibilities of Christians. If you have questions about these things, or if you are interested in a Bible study, we would be happy to assist you. Just drop us a note.

 

 

 

 

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