Continuing from the last episode,part 3 of the 4 part series
Many preach that a professing believer cannot go to hell. They believe that the moment they recite the sinner’s prayer, they would always be saved, no matter what. By inference, this would mean that if one prayed the sinner’s prayer and soon after, became an unrepentant serial killer till their dying day, they are still saved. This would be convenient to believe except that it is not at all consistent with scripture!
A PERSON WHO PROFESSES CHRISTIANITY AND YET DOES NOT LISTEN, OBEY, LOVE, ETC. IS NOT A TRUE BELIEVER AND IS IN REALITY, LOST (1John 3:10).
For those that believe that those who were once saved are always saved no matter what, Jude 1:5 makes a clear comparison, reminding us that God saved the Israelites from Egypt, yet He destroyed those that did not remain faithful!
Hebrews 10:39 tells us that it is possible for professing believers to turn away from God to their own destruction. In Matthew 24:10-11, Jesus says “And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other and many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people” The bible is replete with examples of professing believers who later rejected God’s way and in every case, it was mentioned that their end would not be good (2Peter 2:20-22, Luke 12:39-48, 1Tim 6:8-10, James 5:19).
The parables also give some insight into this. In the Parable of the sower for example (Matt 13:20-21), it is clear that the second category who fell away were believers at some point. In Heb 6:4-6 and several other verses of scripture, it is made clear that many believers in the last days will not only deny the faith but will also apostatize.
There are many bible verses that warn believers of the dangers and eternal consequences of practicing sin. Why would God continually caution believers to take heed if all that profess to be believers are home and dry? 2Peter: 2 talks a lot about false teachers. Why would Satan put false teachers in the church if there was no chance for the people to fall away? If all church members have eternal security, why waste his time on them? Satan himself knows that it is possible to turn hearts away from God.
Those that propagate the doctrine of eternal security for all professing believers quote John 10:28-29 where Jesus says His sheep have eternal life and will never perish. They see this as an automatic ticket to heaven for anyone who once said the sinner’s prayer. To understand John 10:28-29, kindly read from verse 27 and you will realize that in reality, John 10:28-29 has a condition; LISTEN AND FOLLOW! (John 10:27). This is what makes us sheep in the first place! This means that if you are not listening and following, you are not a true believer and therefore not entitled to the promise of eternal life stated in verses 28 and 29!
In the same way, some quote that in Christ, there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1a). They do not realise that this is only true for all who are truly in Christ, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH! (Rom 8:1b). 1 John 2:24 also shows that there is a condition for the promise of eternal life spoken of in verse 25. That condition is to ABIDE/ REMAIN FAITHFUL! They also quote Philippians 1:6 to support the claim that God will keep them to the end but reading from verse 1 will show that verse 6 is talking to active participants in the gospel and not to all who merely profess.
Quoting scripture out of context only succeeds in deceiving ourselves and each other but does not deceive God who alone knows those who are true believers (John 10:14).
God never took away our free will. Even though His grace is available to help us, it is ultimately our choice to remain in Him or not. Those who do will be saved. Those who don’t will be denied on the last day. How do I ensure this doesn’t happen to me you may ask? Examine yourself and make sure your heart is in the right place and you are still in the faith! (2Cor 13:5). This will mean doing a heart check from time to time to be sure we are believing and living right (Heb 3:12-13). If you are living in sin, have no desire to please God and no interest in obeying Him, then you are likely just professing and not a true believer because no one born of God makes a practice of sin (1John 1:6, 3:9).
It is important to note here that while it is clear that a professing Christian can fall away, it is also clear from scripture that TRUE believers will have eternal life and will not be condemned (John 5:24). Thank God for His grace which does not condemn but restores and transforms us if we will embrace it!