This has been one of my struggles, “Once saved always saved”. I have always used the metaphor of a real estate transaction to grasp this. Once we pass the deed to God it remains always as divine property I said.

Reading John 15:2 (God “removes every one of my branches that doesn’t produce fruit. He also prunes every branch that does produce fruit to make it produce more fruit” God’s Word) I realized two things: transfer of ownership is a wrong-headed metaphor. God made us. We are God’s whether we like it or not. Our children are the genetic attachment to us, and even if they had rejected us (which they didn’t, for which we remain grateful) they cannot in any way change their genetic origin.

Secondly, our relationship to God rests in a covenant. The covenants of the Hebrew world were sometimes broken by people. God would call them back (usually through prophets), but if they didn’t repent and return then punishment (as prescribed in the covenant agreement) followed, even including death to some.

So joining Jesus has the same conditions – endure to the end, not just the beginning.

This makes Revelation even more understandable since the theme is clearly endure with Christ. It clarifies the interchange between God and the people of the Old Testament.

However, and a big however it is, that means salvation initiates a covenant-contract, but is not a final act.

love_one_another_You see, it comes to mind that our part of the covenant consists of bearing fruit. And the fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). The greatest commandment has two parts: love God and love our neighbour (as ourselves) as Jesus taught it (Mark 12:29-31). Everyone will know that we follow Jesus by the way we disciples love each other (John 13:35). Gifts of the Spirit are wonderful, but they become worthless and we become empty echoes of useless wind if we do not love (1 Corinthians 13).

Yet we do not endure to the end by will-power or achievement. Rather, I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). So we bear fruit, not by great skills, but by following Jesus, Head of The Church (the Body of Christ on earth consisting of all those who name Christ Jesus in real terms, not words or creeds or theological fidelity).

So, salvation starts the journey. From that point we keep our side of the covenant by really living for the real Jesus so that salvation continues to be valid everyday, and doesn’t become a forgotten biographical event.

“Some people once had God’s light. They experienced the heavenly gift and shared in the Holy Spirit. They experienced the goodness of God’s word and the powers of the world to come. Yet, they have deserted {Christ}. They are crucifying the Son of God again and publicly disgracing him. Therefore, they cannot be led a second time to God” (Hebrews 6:4-6 God’s Word).

“Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. And because there will be more and more lawlessness, most people’s love will grow cold. But the person who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:10-13 God’s Word).

Enhanced by Zemanta