James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
My heart goes out to the young people of this generation, the world in which we live is changing at an alarming rate. It’s not just the barrage of moral depravity taught in schools and colleges, it’s the incessant push from Hollywood and the media to oppose all biblical Truth.
From the Presidential administration down through Congress, to local government and court systems, the godless whirlpool seeks to castigate and demonize anyone who questions their positions of morality.
Now, we have a wave of socialism infecting many church bodies, the inevitable conclusion of seeker friendly churches who for years have been willing to sacrifice teaching for membership.
Through all of the haze of corruption and false teaching, the encouragement to endure is as vital today as never before.
Endurance of Belief
I once heard a pastor on the radio speaking about endurance and a statement he made stuck with me: “People aren’t saved because they endure, they endure because they are saved.”
The truth of this is found rooted in the Word of God. As I have been taught, every statement regarding spiritual truth needs to be backed up by scripture.
Matthew 10:22 “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Jesus made it clear that endurance is vital but if we isolate one particular passage, it can be interpreted however someone likes…context is key.
When Jesus spoke of sending His disciples out into the world, He was warning them of the turmoil that was to come.
Matthew 10:16-18 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.”
The disciples of Christ have been scourged, beaten, and murdered for the past 2000 years. The objective is not for monetary gain or worldly adulation, the endurance comes from within. The Spirit of God fills the heart of the believer with strength to endure, this power is driven by love for the lost and a love for God. Without God’s strength and power, nobody could endure such abuse, the personal satisfaction of enduring suffering is not sustainable to the poser or self-indulgent. It’s one thing to run with the righteous when everything is going well, it’s quite another when sacrifice is necessary in obedience.
The failure of the Fake
Salvation is not a product of endurance, but to the contrary, works alone are never sufficient. If works was all that was needed, anyone who might give food to the poor or water to the thirsty would be found justified, no matter what the motive. A clear sign of fake believers is not just the abandonment of faith when life gets difficult but the heart that lacks true love.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
It takes discernment to know who these false disciples are, they might strive to appear godly but the fruits of wickedness gives them away. The difficulty lies with the redeemed, they must strive not only against a world that hates them but also with the charlatans who quietly misrepresent the Lord. Be wary my friends, know the Word of God and measure these false teachers against the blade of God’s Truth.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
The path of falsity is revealed by a lack of endurance. The result of neglecting God’s path and choosing their own shows forth in multiple deficiencies.
* Sound teaching eludes their understanding. Those who live by their own understanding can’t accept anything that conflicts with their views.
*When the false convert is confronted by Truth, they turn away.
*False converts are easily duped by bad theology, any myth presented might seem reasonable to them.
Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
No matter what the righteous encounter, the Lord is faithful until the end. To the righteous, false teaching is exposed by the revelation of God’s Spirit. Hatred is responded to in love, and holiness is recognized through God’s moral law with the earnest desire to please God being a priority in their lives.
In this era of dilute christianity the term christian means anything from belief in “a god”, to a hollow belief that Jesus is real without repentance. The compromise of those who subscribe to this mantra will be those whom Jesus declared in Matthew 7—He never knew them. More of these so called “christians” think God overlooks sex outside of marriage, that profanity is just being “human”, lying is justified under the right circumstances, and that hatred for your fellow man is acceptable when others deserve it. Try to correct these charlatans and they will accuse you of false judgement.
The Word of God argues against those who deny the Truth.
Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Remember, if you are going through trial, it is the Lord who is taking you through it. His ways are always good, the outcome will be to grow you in your faith, and the reward for a steadfast spirit will be worth the sacrifice.
Endurance is a mark of true belief because the true believer is kept by the power of God.
Stand firm, be consistent in prayer and remember your redemption draws near.