"Matthew 24 - The Rapture Dilemma" (Part Eight)
Do we Need to Endure, as Christians?
The NTEB article was absolutely definite that the Church won't have to endure! It says, "There is no Christian in our dispensation of the Age of Grace that needs to endure until the end to be saved" (Thus, they argue, it's only ISRAEL who need to endure to the End.)
It continues, "We are saved according to Ephesians 2:8,9, and kept saved according to Ephesians 1:13,14. There is nothing in Paul's teachings that tell us to "endure" for salvation. Paul taught and preached the doctrine of Eternal Security."
I don't know how they can believe that and at the same time show copious examples of false teachers and false prophets lying to and deceiving the Church today. Is it assumed that they will change tack and repent before the end, or else be taken up regardless (or perhaps none of them are truly saved in the first place?) From where did this great apostasy arise in the first place, if not from deceived Christians within the churches?
And what about the thousands, if not millions, who are drawn into false teachings, even accepting anointings and impartations, receiving in effect "another spirit" and "another christ"?
2 Cor 11: 1-4 I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his cunning, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.
Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed.
Some have been saved, but still need to "make their calling and election sure" by exercising perseverance, patience and endurance, so they do not fall into the snare of false teaching in the last days. I see no reason to doubt the bible when it warns that falling away is possible and ENDURANCE is needed, with vigilance and diligence, to avoid the fate of those who overthrow the faith they once had:
Hebrews 6:4-15 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth plants fit for them by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God, but that which bears thorns and briars is worthless, and is near unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (11) And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end. that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For Abraham...after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Here we see a stern call to remain in the true faith, holding onto the promises, avoid falling away, and be diligent and patient, enduring to the End. How could it be any clearer than this?
To those who say Christians have no need of endurance, I say - read the bible!
Can Christians Fall Away?
It seems obvious to me that Christians CAN fall away from the faith, for how can anyone fall away from something they never held to in the first place? (See for example Jn 15:1-6 branches that are cut out, Revelation 3:16 believers that are vomited out of the Body of Christ, and 1 Ti 5:8 addressed to Christians.)
But this is not about "once-saved-always-saved" which is an unbiblical doctrine that needs a whole new article, at another time. This is about never having to "endure" to "make our call and election sure" in the endtimes.
Personally I wish Eternal Security WAS a biblical concept. Having once received the Lord by faith, I could comfortably sit back on the pew and ease myself through all the trials of today without worrying that I'll have to withstand any of that "pressure" I spoke of above. Since it would be absolutely impossible for me ever to fall away from the truth, I could disregard the warnings of Jesus not to be deceived, and see myself in a safe zone right up to the Rapture.
In other words, why would I need to "endure"? I would be kept from all danger!
I wish also that could be said of the believers of all the centuries who went through countless torments, tortures, banishments, and martyrdoms for the Name of Jesus and yet obeyed the command to "stand firm" and to "fight the good fight" and "hold onto your crown" until the End.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endures trial: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
But many didn't make it. Many DID fall away and wandered into heresies and cults instead. Or else, from where do Christian cults and heretical groups come from? They were once part of the Body, but departed from the truth. (Hebrews 3:12).
They all escaped from the world and its sins (Egypt); they all were all once baptised in the water and the Spirit (the Sea and the Cloud of the Exodus) but nonetheless – like most of Israel in the wilderness – they turned back to idols and suffered banishment from the Promised Land. (Read 1 Corinthians chapter 10).
They disqualified themselves from the prize at the end of the race, because those who run that race have to "compete according to the rules" according to 2 Timothy 2:5. The bible is full of examples of those who once believed, but who fell away because they did not CONTINUE in belief but started to believe in something or someone else. Or, they went back to the world and its wickedness as a choice, refusing to repent.
Hebrews 10:26-29 For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done insult unto the Spirit of grace?
It would be very difficult to deny that this Hebrews passage is addressed to the Church, warning Christians that they need to endure, to continue in faith, because of the punishment for denying the Lord, falling away into various heresies and unbiblical cults, or else going back to the world and its wickedness. Notice that the people addressed above were "sanctified by the blood" - who else but Christians?
Enduring in the Endtimes Trial
What else is the GREAT APOSTASY of the last days but those who were formerly Christians - albeit weak, worldly and biblically ignorant ones - who either set up heretical ministries or else followed them? These did NOT endure to the end! Hence the warnings of Jesus.
How much more needed is the warning when we all come under the intense pressure and trial that is called "tribulation" of the last days, when everyone regardless of status is pushed to the limit. That hard time will come to EVERYONE, Christians included, because we also qualify as "all those who dwell on the face of the earth" in the following verses:
Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be weighed down with carousing, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
And THAT is why Paul goes on to say that "you (Christians) HAVE NEED OF ENDURANCE, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise." (Heb 10:36)
Verse 39 of that chapter of Hebrews refers to those who, after having received the knowledge of the truth and having fallen away from it are those who "draw back, to perdition" referring again to the Israelites who came out of Egypt and yet returned to worship of idols.
On the other hand, we faithful are those who "believe to the saving of the soul". These two are contrasted as two possible courses that Christians can take! How MUCH then – especially in a time of even greater deception and persecution – do we need to endure in order to make it through without denying the Lord, turning away from the truth, or falling into one of the many heresies that are so powerful and attractive today!
Jesus called for endurance to the end, knowing that trials and tribulation would inevitably come.
It is not his will that any be lost, but sadly, MANY will chose another faith system, another christ at the end. They will have all the appearance of the Church without actually knowing God or his will. (Matthew 7:22)
Romans 2:1-11 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whosoever you are that judge: for in what you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them who commit such things. And do you think, O man, that judge them who do such things, and do the same, that you shall escape the judgment of God? Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart treasure up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: For there is no respect of persons with God.
So, whatever your belief in eternal security, it seems plain that when Jesus spoke of the need for enduring, staying faithful, persevering and in patience remaining true to God unto the End, he was NOT talking to national Israel (who at the time he spoke and for centuries afterward denied the Messiah and hated the Church). He intended his warnings and encouragement to apply to ALL who would undergo the fierce trials of the last days, as Paul said, "to the Jew first and also to the Greek, for there is no respect of persons with God."
- Did the Church Exist in the Day of Jesus?
- Can Prophecies Refer to More than One Event?
- The Rapture or the Second Coming - or both?
- When and What is the Day of Jacob's Trouble?
- Are the Elect Exclusively Israel?
- Is the Tribulation a seven-year Wrath of God?
- Do we Need to Endure, as Christians? (this page)
- Are there Distinct and Absolute Dispensations of History?
- Replacement Theology
© 2016 Tricia Tillin-Booth. All rights reserved. Birthpangs Website: http://www.birthpangs.org/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.