Why do we born again Christians sometimes worry about being left behind?

Musician 4 Jesus

Psalms 150 : 1-6 KJV
Okay I've put off asking this for a long time because I used to think that I was a "bad christian" for even being scared or worried or unsure of my salvation or second guessing that I'll be left behind even though I'm born again and asked Jesus Christ into my heart as my lord and savior and been baptized. I rededicated my life to Christ last year. So why do I still sometimes worry I'll be left behind or that I'm not saved even though I'm pretty sure I am. I'm a baby Christian and pretty young as most y'all know. My mother has explained to me that this is totally normal and that all Christians have thought the same at one time or another but why do we feel that way sometimes? Most times I'm excited talking about the good Lord coming back and some rare times I'm kinda worried that I'll be left behind. Do my question is why does us Christian worry about this sometimes and how do y'all just put them thoughts behind you?
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
Most times I'm excited talking about the good Lord coming back and some rare times I'm kinda worried that I'll be left behind. Do my question is why does us Christan worry about this sometimes and how do y'all just put them thoughts behind you?

Maybe because we don't feel worthy of such a gift because of our discomfort with our sin nature. Thankfully, just as we believe we've been saved by the Blood of the Lamb, we can also believe everything the Lamb has told us through His Word!
 

LindaLove

Well-Known Member
I worry often that I’m not really saved and what if I am one of the “false Christians” people talk about being left behind. I think it’s just Satan at work on some believers minds and it would be really nice to be set free from it. Also, I fear that I will be deceived and somehow wrongfully deny Jesus when he returns for us.
 

lightofmylife

Blessed Hope-Prepare To Fly!
Okay I've put off asking this for a long time because I used to think that I was a "bad christian" for even being scared or worried or unsure of my salvation or second guessing that I'll be left behind even though I'm born again and asked Jesus Christ into my heart as my lord and savior and been baptized. I rededicated my life to Christ last year. So why do I still sometimes worry I'll be left behind or that I'm not saved even though Im pretty sure I am. I'm a baby Christian and pretty young as most y'all know. My mother has explained to me that this is totally normal and all christians thought the same but why do we feel that way sometimes. Most times I'm excited talking about the good Lord coming back and some rare times I'm kinda worried that I'll be left behind. Do my question is why does us Christan worry about this sometimes and how do y'all just put them thoughts behind you?
Satan puts thoughts in our minds like doubting your salvation. Another one of his tactics is fear. To put these thoughts behind you recognize it is Satan trying to confuse you, and know for a fact that when you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord that it is a done deal. Meditate on Gods word. :bible Jesus paid the price for all sins past, present, and future. You are sealed until the day of redemption.
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
Sorry y'all if this seems like a stupid question.
It ISN'T a stupid question, but, in my opinion is a question that comes forth from a heart who isn't sure they are saved. That's not condemnation. That's me telling you I have the exact same anxiety and I boil it down to "am I really saved?" There are so many mixed and nuanced messages in the Christian world I find it amazing that some people really are assured of their salvation. (Don't get me wrong... I am guessing most if not all who would ask such a question are). But, let's face it. We live in a complex world. There are many teachers who teach different things. Even on THIS board, recently, I briefly looked over a post that essentially covered the "Faith without Works." conundrum. The conclusion I came to, was that, basically, if you don't have works to show for it, then you have no faith, and without faith, you aren't saved.

Brings tons of questions:

If I have no obvious works, but still trust in Christ, am I saved.
If I have a constant sin that I can't shake, let's just say alcohol dependence, am I still saved?
If I am a gay man who is "active" or even one who isn't "active" am I still saved?
If.... if... if... the list is infinite.

(For the record, I'm not gay, but I know of a Christian brother who Is and could run rings around most of us theologically in terms of his knowledge of God's word.)

How can one truly tell if they are saved? Why, upon trusting Jesus, would God not give you that peace, that peace that only he can give, that you are saved unless you might not be????

And also (this is something I wanted to write matt54 about but have put off), if you are saved and therefore justified before the Lord, why is there still a communication gap. And actually, if Jesus died for our sins, therefore conquering the curse of death, why do each and every one of us eventually still die?

Seriously. If Satan is defeated, why does nothing in our world reflect that. The 20th century alone was one of the most horrendous centuries in human history in terms of horrible deaths, misery, and evil. If Satan was defeated, you could have fooled me.

Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus, the messiah, would be sacrificed as a blood offering to cleanse and make right the original sin in the Garden of Eden, BUT.... everything that original sin created would still continue of go on and on and maybe get even get worse.

So, what exactly did Jesus die for? I have

A) No real relationship to God (a relationship consists of communication back and forth, at the least, and I have none of that).
B) I am certainly not free of sin, so I haven't been made perfect.
C) Short of the rapture, I am going to die just as everyone I've loved has, or will die (a curse of the original sin).

Can someone explain to me in real terms what exactly Jesus, Son of God, died for? And accomplished in tangible terms? Did he die for an idea or for a reality?
 

Eastxn

Well-Known Member
If you read Colossians, I believe it's chapter 2 where it talks about spiritual circumcision, the circumcision that's done without hands. When we're saved, God circumcises our spirit from our flesh. The soul has been redeemed by Jesus but not our flesh. The flesh still desires the things of this world so it constantly wars against the spirit. The soul no longer sins but the flesh still does. Paul understood this when he said, "Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Rom 7:20-23

Jesus himself said "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."

A lost person doesn't go through this. His flesh has nothing to war against because his spirit is dead. In other words if you were lost, you wouldn't be worrying about it.
 

RobinB

Well-Known Member
If you read Colossians, I believe it's chapter 2 where it talks about spiritual circumcision, the circumcision that's done without hands. When we're saved, God circumcises our spirit from our flesh. The soul has been redeemed by Jesus but not our flesh. The flesh still desires the things of this world so it constantly wars against the spirit. The soul no longer sins but the flesh still does. Paul understood this when he said, "Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Rom 7:20-23

Jesus himself said "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."

A lost person doesn't go through this. His flesh has nothing to war against because his spirit is dead. In other words if you were lost, you wouldn't be worrying about it.

Agree. All of the above answers, plus, I think we know how bad it will be for unbelievers so we worry more. They don't really know or care at this point.
 

Sir_Orphiel

Member
I, too, have struggled with those same thoughts. As someone who came to Christ in December 2011, recently I have thought the same.
But, for me, I am constantly grateful for what the Lord has done for me. Even through all the hardships in my young life, I never once blamed or faulted Him for any of it. I love the Lord, and I will defend Him to my last breath or when the Trumpet sounds.
That being said, it helps partaking in these forums. Talking to you all. Seeing everyone's different perspectives, personal stories, struggles, and achievements. We all feel similarly. We all share a bond in Jesus Christ.
Those doubts you feel of yourself are from the Adversary, the Devil. You are a target of his because you acknowledge Christ as your Savior and your Lord. But, when you read the Word of God. Or when you find reassurance from us here on these forums, you will feel the joy of the Lord ignite within you. We, as humans, are still weak in flesh. And the Lord understands this. Do not be afraid to address your thoughts and feelings to Him as well. Even so, I will pray for you as I understand exactly how you feel.
 

soundingthealarm

Fleethewrath2come
I love that THE Apostle Paul said he came to know "that in my flesh no good thing dwells" and I love that Our Lord wanted us to come to know that we are wretched, miserable and blind in ourselves ....he rebuked a church for not realizing that about themselves.

My very best SELF is as a filthy rag. The ONLY thing I have is faith alone in Christ alone and that was given to me from Our Father in Heaven.

Whom do you say that I am? You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

"Flesh and blood did NOT reveal that to you but rather My Father in Heaven." - Jesus

FREE GIFT ---zero ability to boast and thank God that is all that is required for salvation and to be rapture ready!
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
Maybe because we don't feel worthy of such a gift because of our discomfort with our sin nature. Thankfully, just as we believe we've been saved by the Blood of the Lamb, we can also believe everything the Lamb has told us through His Word!
Concur. I think we all at least once or more times in our walk with Him question our future. I believe its the mentality we are raised with where everyone teaches us from a young age “if it seems to good to be true, then its not”. Or, “nothing good is for free, theres always a cost”.

I know my attempts at good works cant earn my salvation, and that was a hard fact to accept at the beginning. Now, Im eternally thankful my efforts contribute nothing to my salvation, but do keep me mostly in fellowship with Him.
 

JSTyler

Well-Known Member
Also,
Jeremiah 17:9-10
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart, test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

Verse 9 - We're perfect at deceiving ourselves because our hearts are perfect deceivers. That applies to good bad and everything (if there's such a scale) in-between. If it's too bad to reconcile, "I didn't do it!" If it's too good to believe, "I don't deserve it!"

Verse 10 - THANK! YOU! JESUS!
 

Amethyst

Angie ... †
Can someone explain to me in real terms what exactly Jesus, Son of God, died for? And accomplished in tangible terms? Did he die for an idea or for a reality?
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,


The just for the unjust: Jesus is a perfect example of suffering for doing good. He, the just, suffered for all of us who are the unjust – and the purpose of it all was to bring us to God, to restore our broken and dead relationship with Him.
......
Being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit: Jesus did die in His body but was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit. Here, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. It also tells us that the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:4), and it says that Jesus raised Himself from the dead (John 2:18-22). The resurrection was the work of the Triune God.
~ David Guzik
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
I remember one day, as a Christian, being filled with fear suddenly about my eternal destination (it seems that is not uncommon for Christians in their human aspect and/or with the enemy of our souls attempting to rob us of God's peace and assurance), specifically being in the Rapture. It was quite the panicky thought and kind of shoved it to the back of my mind.

That night my daughter, who was about 7 or 8 at the time said to me as I was leaving to say goodnight, "Mom, you should read John 14."

Now, she thought she was being random and having fun and I smiled saying, "Ok, I will!"

That night I turned to John 14:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Vs1-4

I was pretty astonished and also was suddenly at peace. God knew I was afraid, He cared and He comforted.

So, what exactly did Jesus die for? I have

A) No real relationship to God (a relationship consists of communication back and forth, at the least, and I have none of that).
B) I am certainly not free of sin, so I haven't been made perfect.
C) Short of the rapture, I am going to die just as everyone I've loved has, or will die (a curse of the original sin).

Can someone explain to me in real terms what exactly Jesus, Son of God, died for? And accomplished in tangible terms? Did he die for an idea or for a reality?
This is what Jesus died for and because Christ went the way before us we can have confidence that we too, believers in Christ, will follow:

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.....Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Romans 6:3-11, 18

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.

....But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.


1 Cor 15:3-7, 20-23




In regards to our bodies, they need to die because of sin and also because we need new bodies to be able to see and be with God. In the same way that Jesus was put to death in the body and made alive in the Spirit, so too will we:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18

And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Romans 8:10-11

In time we will receive new bodies:

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
2 Cor 5:1-5


Also, I think this article below may be helpful in regards to assurance of Salvation. As far as communication, my own personal experience is that daily reading of God's Word (His communication) has abundantly provided communication from God. Through the Holy Spirit, passages seem to pop at times and also amazingly speak directly to what ever situation I'm facing. In addition this has often been in answer to prayer (my communication to God).

https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/eternal-security/osas-the-whole-story/

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
If you follow our “Ask a Bible Teacher” feature, you know how many comments I’ve received lately that question the Doctrine of Eternal Security (aka Once Saved Always Saved or OSAS). Based on their content I’ve concluded that many people neither understand OSAS nor have they considered the alternative.

Let’s Begin At The Beginning​

It’s time to set the record straight once and for all. What does it take to be saved? I think the best answer to that question is the one the Lord gave in John 6:28-29.
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Here was a perfect opportunity to list all the things we have to do to meet God’s requirements. Jesus could have rattled off the 10 commandments. He could have repeated the Sermon on the Mount. He could have listed any number of admonitions and restrictions necessary to achieve and maintain God’s expectations of us. But what did He say? “Believe in the one He has sent.” Period. It was a repeat of John 3:16, confirming that belief in the Son is the one and only requirement for salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
A few verses later in John 6:38-40 He said that this wasn’t just His idea, as if that wouldn’t be enough, but that His Father was in complete agreement. And not only would our belief suffice to provide us with eternal life, but that it was God’s will that Jesus lose none of those who believe. You and I have been known to disobey God’s will, but has Jesus ever done so? And isn’t He the one who’s been charged with the responsibility for keeping us? Let’s read it.

“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40)

Just in case we missed this promise, Jesus made it again even more clearly in John 10:28-30. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The Father and the Son have both accepted responsibility for our security. Once we’re in Their hands, no one can get us away.

I have purposely only used words straight from the Lord’s own mouth to make this case because I can already hear the choruses of “Yes Buts” mounting as those who refuse to take them at face value get ready to trot out their favorite verses denying Eternal Security, misinterpreted though they are.

The one characteristic of God’s that gives us the most comfort is knowing that He can’t lie or change His mind or contradict Himself. He can’t say something in one place and then say something entirely different in another. He’s consistent. If He says that we’re saved solely because of our belief in Him, and that He’s accepted responsibility for keeping us so, then we can count on that. As we’ll see, anything in the Bible that seems to contradict these simple, straightforward statements has to be talking about something else.

But first, since He puts so much emphasis on belief, let’s take a closer look at that word. What does He mean when He says “believe”? It must be more than just a casual thing because reliable statistics show, for example, that 85% of those who come forward to “receive the Lord” at a crusade or other evangelistic outreach never form any connection with a church or Bible Study or in any other way demonstrate a relationship with the Lord afterward.

And Jesus spoke of the seed that fell on rocky places. He said, “This is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matt. 13:20-21) If these people were saved and then fell away, all His promises above have been broken. There must be more. So what does it mean to believe?
The Greek word for believe is “pistis.” According to Strong’s Concordance, it’s a “conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.” In connection with the Lord Jesus, it means “a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.”
The Apostle Paul gave us valuable insight into the nature of this belief. He wrote, If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

This isn’t just some intellectual thing that carries us away on the words of a captivating speaker, only to leave us flat a short time later. It’s a conviction that’s formed deep in our heart, the realization that Jesus is not just a man. He’s the Lord Himself, and He took upon Himself the penalty due us for our sins, which is death. And to prove that God counted His death as sufficient, He raised Jesus from the dead to be seated beside Him in the Heavenly realms. (Ephes. 1:20) Since God can’t dwell in the presence of sin, and since the wages of sin is death, every one of our sins has to have been paid for. If even one remained unpaid, Jesus would still be in the grave. We have to believe that Jesus rose from the grave in order to believe that we will.

It’s that kind of belief that gets you saved and keeps you that way, because it sets in motion a chain of events that’s irreversible. There are four links in this chain. You supply two and the Lord supplies two. You hear and believe, and the Lord marks and guarantees.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The word translated “deposit” is a legal term. Today we would say Earnest Money. It’s a down payment that constitutes a legal obligation to follow through with the purchase. If you’ve ever bought any Real Estate, you’re familiar with the term. If not, here’s another example. It’s like we’ve been put on “layaway.” The price has been paid and we’ve been taken off the display shelf until the one who has purchased us returns to claim us. In the meantime, we cannot be bought by anyone else, because we legally belong to the one who has paid the deposit. “You are not your own,” we’re told. “You were bought with a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

All of this happened at our first moment of belief, before we could do anything to either earn or lose our position. The man on the cross beside Jesus is the prototype for this transaction. Having done something bad enough to get himself executed, he was promised a place in Paradise solely because he believed in his heart that Jesus was the Lord of a coming Kingdom.

Paul made it even clearer when he repeated this incredible promise in 2 Cor. 1:21-22. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
This time He removed all doubt as to just Who it is that keeps us saved. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. What could be clearer?

Union And Fellowship​

If the Doctrine of Eternal Security is so clear then why all the disagreement about it? I’ve found two reasons. The first is the two-sided nature of our relationship with the Lord. I call one side Union. It’s eternal and unconditional, based only on our belief. Ephesians 1:13-14 describes our Union with God, sealed and guaranteed. Once we’re born again, we can’t become unborn. It’s good forever. The Holy Spirit is sealed within us from our first moment of belief until the day of redemption.

I call the other side Fellowship, and it’s a bit more complicated. Fellowship is that state of continual closeness to God that enables Him to bless us in our daily lives, by making things happen for us and protecting us from attack. It’s like He’s teamed up with us to give us a supernatural advantage. Fellowship is defined by 1 John 1:5-9 as being both Earthly and conditional upon our behavior. Even as believers, as long as we’re here on Earth we’ll continue to sin. Since God can’t abide in the presence of sin, our unconfessed sins interrupt our Earthly relationship with Him and may deprive us of blessings we might have otherwise received. We’re still saved in the eternal sense, but out of Fellowship here on Earth.
When we’re out of Fellowship, we’re legitimate targets for our enemy’s mischief, just like Job was. His sin was self-righteousness and because he wouldn’t confess it, God had to let Satan afflict him in order to bring him to his senses. For a New Testament illustration, look at the parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) Like the younger son, we’ll still belong to our Father’s family but won’t receive any of its blessings while we’re out of Fellowship. And like both Job and the Prodigal, when we return to our Father and confess our sins, we’re immediately purified from all unrighteousness and restored to Fellowship.

One reason that many Christians live such defeated lives is that having only learned about the Union part of being a believer, they only know that God has forgiven their sins and that they’ll go to be with Him when they die or are Raptured. They don’t realize that they still need to confess every time they sin to stay in Fellowship. And so, being deprived of God’s providence, they may become discouraged and even stop praying and attending church. Other believers, who don’t understand the dual relationship either, look at the mess they’re in and think they must have lost their salvation. Like Job’s friends, they look in God’s Word for confirmation, and by taking verses out of context, believe they have found the proof.

Union and Fellowship are not just New Testament ideas. In the Old Testament, even when Israel was obedient in thought and action, doing their best to please God, the priests still had to sacrifice a lamb on the altar every morning and every evening for the sins of the people. 1 John 1:9 is the New Testament equivalent of those daily sacrifices for sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. It was written for believers who are already saved, but are in danger of being out of Fellowship because of their sins.

The Gift And the Prize​

The other reason people get confused is that there are two types of benefits in Eternity. The first is the free Gift called Salvation that’s given to all who ask in faith irrespective of merit and guarantees our admission into the Kingdom. Ephesians 2:8-9 is the model, saying that salvation is a Gift from God.

The second consists of Heavenly rewards we can earn for the things we do as believers here on Earth. Philippians 3:13-14 are good verses for explaining this. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. In addition to the Gift, there’s a Prize.
A gift is something given out of love, irrespective of merit, and is never taken back. A prize, on the other hand, is something we qualify for and earn. And if we’re not careful we can lose it. (Rev. 3:11) Paul had already received the Gift of salvation, it was behind him. Now he was focused on winning the Prize as well.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 he explained the difference in greater detail. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

No Olympic athlete was satisfied just to have qualified to participate in the games. Everyone wanted to win the victor’s crown. Likewise, we shouldn’t be satisfied just to have received the Gift of salvation. We must now live our lives as believers in such a way as to win the Prize as well.
The Bible calls some of these prizes crowns, and while the athlete’s crown soon wilted away (it was a wreath of ivy) the crowns believers can win last forever. They’re worth making some sacrifices for. That’s why Paul said, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor. 9:27) The crowns are identified as the Everlasting Crown (Victory) in 1 Cor 9:25, Crown of the Soul Winner in Phil 4:1 and 1 Thes 2:19, Crown of Righteousness in 2 Tim 4:8, Crown of Life in Jas 1:12 and Rev 2:10, and the Crown of Glory in 1 Peter 5:4.

The difference between the Gift and the Prize is also seen in 1 Cor. 3:12-15. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

At the judgment of believers, the quality of our work on earth will be tested by fire. Only work that survives the test will bring us a reward. But notice that even if all our work is destroyed in the fire, we’ll still have our salvation. Why? Because it’s a free Gift, given out of love, irrespective of merit.

The Lord mentioned other rewards as well. In Matt. 6:19-21 He advised us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

There are things we can do as believers while here on Earth that will cause deposits to be made to our heavenly account. Some believe that this passage refers to the way we use the money we’re given. Do we use it to enrich ourselves, stacking up possessions that far exceed our needs? Or do we use it to further the work of the Kingdom? Here’s a hint. Our tithe is what we owe to God. It’s what we do with the money we have left that really counts. And with the measure we use, it will be measured to us. (Luke 6:38)

To summarize, in the New Testament there are verses like Ephesians 1:13-14 that talk about Union. There are verses like 1 John 1: 8-9 that talk about Fellowship. There are verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 that talk about the Gift and there are verses like 1 Cor 9:24-27 that talk about the Prize.

Union verses:
The verses that stress belief, explain the permanent nature of our bond with God, and are directed toward eternity are Union verses.

Gift verses:
Those that involve grace and faith are Gift verses.

Fellowship verses:
Those that require work and are directed at the quality of our lives on Earth are Fellowship verses.

Prize verses:
And those that require work and involve eternal rewards are Prize verses.

When you view Scripture from this perspective, all of the apparent contradictions disappear and you no longer have to wonder why God seems to be saying one thing here and something different there. The issue becomes one of correctly identifying the focal point of the particular passage you’re looking at. Determine the context by reading verses around it, and assign it to one of the four categories.

Give Us An Example​

Hebrews 6:4-6 is a passage often cited in opposition to Eternal Security. The entire letter is to Jewish believers who are being enticed back into keeping the Law, so the context is New Covenant vs. Old. And in verse 9 the writer hints that he’s been talking about things that accompany salvation. That tells us that verses 4-6 are not related to salvation but things that accompany it. More importantly, the idea that a believer could do something to irretrievably lose his salvation is in direct contradiction to the very clear promise that the Holy Spirit is sealed within us from the very first moment of belief until the day of redemption.

So what could these believers be in danger of falling away from due to their sins? Fellowship. And what could prevent them from being restored? The practice of Old Covenant remedies for sin rather than invoking 1 John 1:9. They’d be relegating the death of the Lord to the same status as that of the twice-daily lamb. The Law was only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. Once the Reality appeared, the shadow was no longer effective. And what would be their penalty? Living a defeated life, bearing no fruit, all their works burned in the judgment of 1 Cor. 3. But still saved? Yes. Hebrews 6:4-6 is a Fellowship passage.

Suppose There Is No Security?​

In closing, let’s look at the alternative. What are we faced with? If Hebrews 6:4-6 for example applies to our salvation then if we ever sin after being saved we’ll be lost forever with no way back, because the Lord would have to be crucified all over again to retrieve us. The New Covenant would be worse than the Old, not better. They were condemned for their actions. According to Matt. 5, we’d be condemned for our thoughts. They couldn’t murder. We couldn’t even be angry. They couldn’t commit adultery. We couldn’t even have a lustful thought. Think of it. No anger, ever. No lust, ever. No envy, ever. No idolatry, ever. No favoritism or discrimination, ever. No impure thoughts or deeds of any kind, ever. Is this the Good News, the incomparable riches of His Grace? Did God become man and die the most painful death ever devised only to put His children into an even more untenable position than before? Are we saved by grace only to be placed under the constraints of an even more severely administered law? I can’t believe so.

Some take a more moderate view of this saying that God would never take back the gift of salvation, but that we can return it. To justify this position they have to put words in the Lord’s mouth. When He says in John 10:28, “No one can snatch them out of my hand,” they have to insert the phrase “but us” after “no one”. Same with Romans 8:38-39.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. They have to insert the phrase “but us” after “in all creation”.

None of this defense of Eternal Security is intended to condone sin. As an indication of our gratitude for the gift of salvation, believers are continually admonished in Scripture to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God. Not to earn or keep it, but to thank the Lord for giving it to us. And to help us do that, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in us to guide and direct us, and to pray for us. Since the Spirit of God lives in us we are no longer controlled by the sin nature and can choose to please God by the way we live. And even though we do this out of gratitude for the Gift He’s already given, which is Union with Him, He blesses us both here on Earth (Fellowship) and in Eternity (the Prize). Selah 10-07-06
 
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