Guaranteeing Heaven As Long As They Once Believed

July 12, 2013

A friend wrote me the other day about a woman who is dying of cancer who she is trying to witness to and who says she used to believe in Christ, but that “it wasn’t for her anymore.” That wording sounds like this cancer victim did consider that following Christ WAS for her at one time. How often do we hear of such things? –People believing in the Gospel, being enthusiastic about following the Lord, and even producing fruit for the Kingdom, yet then getting entangled in some sin, false doctrine, or worldly concern through which they turn away from the Truth and so deny Christ by their actions, words, or both? I myself have heard of it, and seen it, too often.

But, in spite of the obvious, many “Christians” just keep believing (and preaching) that once a person believes in Jesus, “signs up” to follow Christ, gets baptized, and gets involved in church or ministry, that person is guaranteed Heaven even if he seems to backslide. In fact, –even if he states, outright, that he no longer believes!

But God’s Word doesn’t teach this at all. It teaches the opposite. For example, where Jesus says, “They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” (Luke 8:13) How can this statement’s meaning be changed or twisted? Jesus is talking about those who believe the Word of God, accept it with joy, believe for a while, but cannot endure through the tests. They are those who wither because they have no moisture (v. 6) and so do not develop any root. (v. 13) Then Jesus describes those who die another way: Getting “choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures.” (v. 14) Withered, choked, not maturing… –none of these plants can produce a crop for the Lord. For such plants do not retain the Word in their hearts (v. 15), the Word which is able to save (Ja. 1:21) if it is obeyed. (v. 22)

Anyone who does not remain in the Word and put to practice what he reads there, cannot remain in Christ. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1,14) and He must be eaten. (6:48-58) But He cannot be eaten merely intellectually (5:39,40); otherwise the Word, Eternal Life, Jesus, will not dwell within. (v. 38) He must be eaten spiritually –in Spirit and in Truth (4:23,24)– and only a person with “a noble and good heart” (Luke 8:15) will be able to retain the Word, persevere, and produce a crop. (same verse)

This is why Jesus says that if a person does not remain in Him, that person cannot bear fruit (John 15:4,5), and that those “in Me” (v. 2) who do not bear fruit, do get cut off. (same verse) They will get thrown away, they will wither, and they will be cast into the fire and burned. (v. 6) It is truly a wonder that people teach fruitless branches (disobedient “Christians”) that they should have no fear of Hell. God’s Word teaches the opposite. Here are some more points and verses:

All the disobedient, no matter their claim, do go to Hell. (Heb. 10:26-31 // Eph. 5:6 // 2 Thes. 1:7-9)

Titus 1:16 says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” Actions override claims. For actions prove or disprove claims. (Acts. 26:20 // Ja. 2:14-26)

All who deny Christ, whether by their words or by their actions, will be denied by Christ. (2 Tim. 2:12)

All who do not do God’s will will be refused eternal life. (Matt. 7:21-23 // 1 John 2:17)

2 Peter 2:20-22 warns that apostatizing leaves a person in a worse state than if he hadn’t ever have “put his hand to the plow.” (Luke 9:62) Apostatizing is to contemptuously renounce Christ, because to keep sinning after having received Him as Lord (as Leader, Commander, and King), is to be insubordinate to Him whom we’ve pledged allegiance to.

It surely is no light matter to be riddled with cancer and to be saying Christ’s Gospel is no longer a part of your beliefs. But, of course, those teaching falsehoods would say there’s nothing to worry about if the person at one time believed.

with love,

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