Why do you keep stressing the need for endurance? (Part 2)


In the first part of this series, we looked at the need to not give up on our calling, and we will continue to review further information, which applies to Matthew 24:13, and which is to the point: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”   Perseverance is vital for true Christians.

As mentioned in our Q&A “Once Saved, Always Saved?”

“In Hebrews 2:1 we read: ‘Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.’ Proponents of the ‘once saved, always saved’ concept try to minimise what disqualified really means but in 2 Corinthians 13:5 we read: ‘Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified (adikomos).’  Therefore, if you are disqualified, Jesus Christ is not (any longer) in you which is something that must be, in order to be a true Christian.”

Anyone who becomes disqualified will not “endure to the end” (compare Matthew 24:13).

The Expositor’s Greek Testament comments that “The implied truth underlying this test is that there will be ample time for a full curriculum of trial testing character and sifting the true from the false or temporary Christian.”

A number of Commentaries mention that the end, referred to in Matthew 24:13, can mean the destruction of Jerusalem but some allow that this can be also for a Christian’s life-span.

The Pulpit Commentary states “the end” means primarily the destruction of Jerusalem, and the salvation promised is safety in that day of peril. It is believed that no Christians perished in the siege or after it (see ver. 16). But τέλος, being here used without the article (differently from verse 6 and 14), must not be restricted to one allusion, but must be taken more generally, as indeed a universal axiom, equivalent to ‘finally,’ as long as endurance is needed.”

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say: “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved – The word ‘end,’ here, has by some been thought to mean the destruction of Jerusalem, or the end of the Jewish economy, and the meaning has been supposed to be ‘he that perseveres in bearing these persecutions to the end of the wars shall be safe. God will protect his people from harm, so that not a hair of the head shall perish.’ Others, with more probability, have referred this to final salvation, and refer the end to the close of life.”

From other warnings in God’s Word, it is clear that we have to stay firm to our calling until the end of our life and not just for a temporary period of time.

In Matthew 24:9-12, Jesus talks about the signs of the times and the end of the age, and in verse 13 we read about the trials true Christians will have to endure with the requirement of staying firm until the end:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:9-13).

In Colossians 1:21-23, we read about the apostle Paul reminding the brethren, both then and now, that we have to continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and that we must not be a lukewarm “Christian” who has strayed far from the course that God intends that we pursue earnestly. It reads: 

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

The book of Hebrews has a number of references which we all ought to heed.

In Hebrews 3:6 is an admonition to our continuance to the end: “… but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

This continues in verses 12-14, where it talks about the possibility of Church members departing from the living God, but that they need to be steadfast to the end:

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,”

Later, in Hebrews 6:15, when talking about Abraham, we read: “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Had Abraham not patiently endured, he would not have obtained the promise. Endurance is vital.

And in Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”  Wavering is not an option, but endurance is, as we read in verse 36: “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”

We further read: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

The challenges that the early Church and its members had to overcome were to remain faithful to Jesus Christ despite the persecution that would follow and has followed down through the ages until the present time where there will still be great challenges in the future before Christ returns to earth to set things right.

In 2 John 1:8 we read: “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.”   That can only happen if we are faithful until the end of our life or until Christ returns, if we are still alive at that time.

There are several promises to the churches in the book of Revelation, which should be encouraging to us (our emphasis by underlining): 

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).   Faithfulness to God is a requirement, and the only conclusion from this verse is that those who were being saved, but weren’t faithful unto death, would not receive the crown of life!

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26). The very obvious indication here is that those who don’t overcome and don’t keep His works until the end will not be in the Kingdom of God and will not have power over the nations.

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:10-11).  It is a command of God to persevere as the Scripture here clearly reveals.

The real Christian life is a life of overcoming, of spiritual growing. The concept of “once saved, always saved” is clearly wrong and unscriptural as we have previously proved, and we need to persevere with the Way of Life to which we have been called and make sure that we are faithful to God to the end—that is death or to the return of Christ if we are still alive at that time.

We read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first: Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

This verse states quite categorically that “the dead in Christ shall rise first”; that is, they will be part of the firstfruits. They will then together with those who are still alive at that time and who will be changed into immortality “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:50-52), meet Christ in the air.  No one is included in this list who has not remained faithful to his Christian calling as they would not “be in Christ,” thus totally negating any false notion that this would include those who had not been faithful to the end.

Anyone who has been called, baptised and received the gift of the Holy Spirit and who does not remain steadfast to the end will not make it into the Kingdom of God.   We may get discouraged and depressed at times, but this must be overcome, or we will be spiritually aborted, with no future to look forward to.   Any current discomfort is but for a time, and the future that we are aiming for is eternity with our great God.   There is no comparison between the two, and we should always remember this at any time when we might waver in our Christian commitment.

We can see so much evidence in the Word of God that we have to be persistent in our love for God and the Way of Life that He has set out for us to live.   Our continual emphasis on this matter is because the ministry has a responsibility to guide and direct God’s people in the direction towards making it into the soon coming Kingdom of God.  We have quoted Matthew 24:13 about enduring to the end, but in the previous verse (verse 12) we read “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

In the final paragraph of our Q&A entitled “How can there be a “Great Falling Away in the Church of God prior to Christ’s return?”, we read: 

“We must continue to be zealous, steadfast and committed to God and His Word until the very end (Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Hebrews 3:14). If we do, then God will protect and save us from the deceptions around us, so that we will NOT drift away (Hebrews 2:1), turn away from God and depart from Him (Hebrews 12:25; 3:12), fall through disobedience (Hebrews 4:11) and lose our salvation (Hebrews 2:3; 10:26-31).”

For us who are Christians, enduring to the end is not an option but an absolute must.  Pain, problems, discouragement and depression are problems that are temporary, but quitting lasts forever.   Let us always keep that in mind!

(To be continued)

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

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