Colossians 1:21-23a -- And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard,
There is a heresy that is being taught that says a person may "get saved," live a Christian life for a certain length of time, and then "get lost" again. Others teach that a person may "get saved" and live a Christian life for a time and then go back to his old ways. He goes back to sins and cannot be distinguished from a lost person. This school of thought affirms that such a person will still go to heaven when he dies because he is still saved (even though "carnal"). Let us look at the Scriptures which make it very clear what the truth is concerning this matter of salvation. We will find that those who are truly born again will continue in the faith.
Our Text is an assurance of salvation. It is a proof that one is born again. If one does not continue in the faith, he was never saved. The Scriptures tell us that when we are saved we have everlasting life. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit by whom we are sealed unto the day of redemption, and that God will continue the work that He begins in us.
The Bible tells us when we are saved we are new creatures in Christ, born again, washed in the blood of Christ, have our names written in heaven, and have a mansion prepared for us in glory. There will be no empty mansions in heaven nor empty seats at the marriage supper of the Lamb because so-called members of the Bride have turned back to sin. Once you are saved, you are saved eternally, and the proof is: "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled." If you turn away from the faith, it is proof you were never saved in the first place.
If a person is living in sin, that person is lost. No matter how many aisles he walked, no matter how many preacher's hands he shook, no matter how many times he got baptized, no matter what he did or what he claims. If he is living in sin, he is lost. A Christian may fall into sin, but he will not live in sin.
1 Thessalonians 3:8 -- For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
Christians continue in the faith. Those who are born again go on, thick or thin. They don't turn back. They continue: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:11-13).
The salvation package comes with this teaching. The same grace that saves, teaches. The faith that comes by hearing the Word of God is tried, tried, and tried again. It will come forth as gold, though it be tried with fire. It is much more precious than gold that perisheth, because the faith that brings salvation does not perish.
These are proof Scriptures. Look back at I Thessalonians 3:8. Isn't that a strong statement? "... now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord." If the "ye" doesn't stand fast in the Lord, then it is not "we." It becomes "I." Anyone who is called a brother, anyone who claims to be saved, we normally take them at their word until they prove themselves otherwise. If they are not saved, in time they will prove themselves not saved.
There are multitudes who have been told by someone that they are all right, that they are going to heaven, when they've never truly come to know the Lord. They have never been born again. Their life never changed. They never repented. They have not ceased to do evil and learned to do well. They never believed the Gospel. They never received the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ personally. They simply said, "Okay, yes, all right, I'll agree, I'll do, you lead, I'll follow." They followed some man or some organization and never came to know the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Multitudes are in this awful state, supposing they are going to heaven and are instead going straight to hell. The end of this Church Age is at hand. This could be the day. The children of God could leave here today. Everything is complete. Everything is ready. If the rapture takes place today and you are not saved, you'll be left to endure the Tribulation. You'll be the same. You'll have sinned away your day of grace with a thin religious coat on. You say, "Well, I believe I'm all right." Well, if you are saved, you know it. You don't hope it. You don't think it. You don't wish it. You know it. Here is one of the ways you will know you have eternal life -- "... if ye stand fast in the Lord."
There will be some testing and trying. There will be some big terrible waves, storms, problems and mountains and valleys, pitfalls, pitchforks, devils, and people trying their best to make you waver and turn and compromise and give up. But we can stand fast in the Lord, it is proof we are saved. If we turn back, it proves we are not saved. Christians continue. The pressures are heavy to make you not continue! The way it turns out, most who do profess, do not continue.
Hebrews 3:6 -- But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
This does not mean that a person who says he is saved will become lost again if he doesn't "hold these things fast unto the end." It does prove that a person is saved if he perseveres to the end, and if he doesn't, that proves he was never saved.
This idea of antinomianism is prominent. Antinomianism teaches that people who live in sin, yet say they are saved, are going to heaven. That's the Devil's lie. That teaching is not found in the Bible. The ones who are saved do hold fast the confidence and hope firm unto the end. Why do you think the martyrs would be burned at the stake rather than recant? Why do you suppose they would stand with their eyes toward heaven, some singing hymns, some praying, others testifying as the fire burned the life out of them? Because they were Christians. They continued in the faith. They would die before they would turn back. They held fast their confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Proof of salvation. Christians continue.
Hebrews 5:9 -- And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (John 10:27)
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:14)
Those who are possessors of eternal life by the grace of God, obey Him. But those who don't obey the Lord, don't even desire to obey the Lord, don't want to serve the Lord, don't want to please the Lord, why would anyone think that person is a Christian?
Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him. We don't keep ourselves saved by obeying Him, but obedience is simply proof that we are His sheep. If we had to keep ourselves saved, we wouldn't last long. We obey Him because we are saved, because we know Him.
Hebrews 6:11-12 -- And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end. That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Christians continue. They desire to serve the Lord. This passage reveals the danger that there might be false professors among the saved. Paul's desire was that they were all saved, "every one." The proof of that genuine salvation will be, "... the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end." Christians continue by faith.
Hebrews 10:38-39 -- Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Those who are new creatures in Christ will not be found among those "who draw back unto perdition." Those who draw back unto perdition are lost. They never were saved. They are just as lost after they make a profession as they were before. They are worse off than before. This age of easy-believism has succeeded in persuading raw sinners to try to act like they are saved. They can't do it for long. They wind up back in their old hog wallers of sin time and time again.
In order for "evangelists" to save face and reputation as powerful soul winners, the name of "carnal Christian" was invented. When their "converts" wind up back in their adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strive, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, sodomy, covetousness, self-loving, boasting, pride, blasphemies, disobedience to parents, unthankfulness, ungodliness, etc. etc., they are excused by saying, "Oh, they are just carnal Christians. They just need to grow."
That sounds good to the sinner. He can do all this sinning and still go to heaven. The broad way is crowded with those who are going straight to hell, yet thinking they will go to heaven (Matthew 7:13-14). But God says, "Be not deceived ..." These shall not inherit the kingdom of God! Christians continue.
2 Peter 2:19-22 -- While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption. for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Here we have a Bible description of the easy-believism "soul winners" and their "converts." Notice, "... The dog is turned to his own vomit again." He was still a dog after making his profession of salvation. If he had been saved, he would have then been a sheep. Also, "... the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." She was still a sow. She wasn't washed in the blood of Christ. If she had been, she would have been a new creature. She would have been a ewe instead of a sow. Sheep don't eat their vomit and ewes don't wallow in the mire. Dogs and sows do! Satan and his ministers are professionals at getting people to make false professions that won't hold up under pressure. Real Christians continue!
1 John 2:18-19 -- Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for f they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
The tares are called antichrists. They were among the Christians, but not of them. If they had been saved, there would have been no doubt about them continuing with them. Why? Christians continue.
Romans 6:23 -- For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Those who live in sin are sinners. Find one place in the Bible where God's children are called sinners after they are saved. Oh, we are not perfect. We are not perfect creatures, but we are new creatures. Sin is not the theme of our lives as it was before salvation. You will not find one case in the Bible where a child of God is called a sinner. The lost are called sinners, God's children are called saints and sons of God. This is not sinless perfection, but the domination of sin is broken.
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:16-18).
Many have been led down "the Roman Road" more than once, only to end up again in the mire of sin. Others have repeated a prayer after some nice person, with no change in their life. The Roman Road may lead to Rome, but no one finds salvation there. It is on the Calvary road where men and women "find the Saviour." Just hearing about Him is not enough. You must know Him.
Luke 23:33 -- And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Why did He die? -- "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
That is the gospel. The Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ said -- "... repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15b); "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).
There is no salvation apart from repentance. If you have not repented, you are not saved. If you know now you are a lost sinner who deserves to go to hell, but you really do desire God's salvation, are you repentantly sorrowful for your sins? Will you repent and turn from your sins?
The Bible says -- "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6). The Bible does not say repeat after someone. It says, "call ye upon him while he is near." The Lord is near. He will save you and you will know it. And you will continue by His grace and strength.
* Excerpted and/or adapted from an article in the July 1998, The Perilous Times