Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Endure Unto the End!
Is it possible to fall away from the truth of God and His good graces, and lose out on salvation? The answer is, "Yes." Extremely trying days lie just ahead for those of us in the Church [Ecclesia] of God. Everything that we hold sacred will soon be overthrown -- everything, that is, except our faith, which must continue until the very end. Over and over in the Bible the brethren are admonished to live lives of overcoming, and remain faithful to the end. How do we go about enduring unto the end? Do we grit our teeth in rigid determination to hang on -- or is there another method of enduring until the end? "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Mark 13:13).
Spiritually speaking, as Christians we have our ups and our downs. We go through spiritual highs and lows, where sometimes we feel absolutely unshakeable, and other times, we crumble. Enduring to the end is not a matter of relying on our own strength and will-power. If we rely on ourselves -- we will ultimately fail! We have the example of the Israelites who had the faith to leave Egypt, but lacked the faith in God to give them the victory to enter into the Promised Land.
They did not endure unto the end -- the promised rest (Hebrews 4:1-2). Do we have the proper faith in God to deliver us in every trial and bring us securely to the Kingdom of God? That remains for us, if we endure to the end.
Paul reminds us brethren that our faith must be in God alone, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12) How secure is our relationship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ? How well do we trust in His unchangeable nature -- in His love, in His trust-worthiness, in His providence, in His protection, in His sovereignty, in His holiness, in His mercy, and a whole multitude of other divine characteristics. If that faith and full reliance is not growing, then we are actually in the process of departing from the living God. We are either moving forward in our understanding and trust of God, or we are slipping away and putting our entrance into His rest in danger. It is only through Christ that we too are assured of victory, if we remain steadfast unto the end.
Brethren, unlike the ancient Israelites, we have been given the greater promises and means to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for He is faithful that promised” (Hebrews 10:23). Our faith, therefore, is in God -- not in ourselves to be able to endure whatever trial or test that may come. It is God who governs the timing and intensity of trials so that we may learn to rely more and more on Him. To avoid the trial is to avoid the tremendous blessing of growing closer to God.
Too many in God's Church have a misplaced reliance on their own faith. An individual's misplaced reliance on inward faith might reveal itself with an, “I’ve got it made because of…such-an-such” -- attitude. And, we do not say it openly, but we think it inwardly -- and it goes something like this: I’ve got it made because I keep the Sabbath on Saturday -- My foundation is sure -- because I know my Bible -- I’ve got it made because I follow a man who would not steer me wrong -- I’ve been in the church for ump-teen years -- I’ve got it made! I’m with a real big group -- I’ve got it made!
Contrast this misplaced inward faith with an outgoing enduring faith. "...we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:10). As we countdown to the return of Jesus Christ, let’s realize that a final test of our conversion will be for the purpose of seeing if we will remain faithful. “…Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Once taken for granted, our liberty is now being eroded and our religious freedom is being encroached upon. Paul illustrated that it is possible to lose our salvation. "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest [millennium and Kingdom of God], lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Hebrews 4:11).
For the people of God, there remains little doubt that there will be sore trials, severe tests, and great temptations in these last days. Some brethren will succumb to Satan's devices and lose their salvation. “Now the spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). The threat is indisputable. The question is: who among us will remain faithful in the face of such a severe ordeal? Many people start off strong when they first hear the message of the Kingdom of God, but are unable to remain faithful until the end. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). That clearly means that many will not hold on to their precious faith, as they should. It can happen to us -- regrettably, it has come to pass for all too many already. "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap [salvation], if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9).
God is faithful to impart His holy spirit to us -- a gift more precious than our physical lives. God's Word says that we will be presented holy, unblamable, and unreprovable in His sight, if we continue in the faith. (Colossians 1:23) Our faith must be in God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and not in ourselves. "...God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tested above that ye are able..." (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Soon-Coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God Here On This Earth!
Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 2186
Temple City, CA 91780, U.S.A.