This is the most divisive area of discussion between Catholics and some Protestants. Even though I am a firm believer in tolerance between those who have differences in doctrine, I believe even stronger in what the Word of God says. Below are several versus discussing this issue along with my interpretation, then you decide if you are following the Bible and what the Lord is telling us. Remember, the Bible is the foundation of all Christian faiths and heaven and earth will pass away before a single word.
“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the Word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain.” Notice it says “if” you hold firm, otherwise you believed in vain. In other words, it says your profession of faith or commitment to our Lord means nothing if you do not stand firm in that commitment to turn from sin and follow God. Paul gave this verse to the believers in the early church, those who had accepted the good news of Jesus Christ.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” This is Christ speaking directly to us saying we must stand firm “to the end” in our love in order to be saved. He did not say, in a moment of emotion when you say you will follow Him, you will have eternal life no matter what you do the rest of your lives.
“…but woe to the man who betrays the Son of Man! It would have been better for him if he had never been born.” Christ was speaking of Judas, who lived and walked along side Jesus. Judas knew who Jesus was and yet because of a choice he made to betray Christ, he did not spend eternity in heaven with our Lord.
Then remember the parable where the farmer was sowing the seed and some fell on the rocky ground and some among the thorns? As Christ explained, the seed was the Word of God and the Word in these two examples was initially received, the plants sprouted and started growing. God did His part by forgiving the sins of those who accepted His Word but when the pressures of the world did not allow the Word to flourish and produce fruit, Christ tells us the plants died. These plants were not allowed to stay little, but because they had no roots they died. It is the same with the Christian who accepts the Word of God; we must follow the gospel in order to be saved. Our life as a believer in Christ is a journey through out our life and where we end up is based on the choices we make and the commitment we have in our heart for the Lord.
It is very important to remember, we are not to judge others and are called upon to love those who may believe differently. I also know there are many aspects of God’s plan that we do not understand and I have been very close to people who believe “once saved, always save”. However, you are responsible for you, so you must know what the scripture says and then follow it.
Steve Childers is the author of Catholic or Protestant What our Churches Should Be Teaching. Visit http://catholicorprotestant.com/
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