Of course there is a lot in the teaching of Jesus about the big subject of salvation, but I am especially concerned with the things Jesus taught regarding the CONDITIONS God lays down for those who are going to be ultimately saved. If a thousand men teach me that there is no reason to fear the loss of my salvation if I am spiritually lazy and religiously compromised, but Jesus tells me the opposite – then I would be wiser to take heed to what Jesus said, right? After all, HE is the One I will have to stand before, probably in less than 30 years from now at the latest.
So what did He say?
Well, we've been looking at some of the things in Matthew 4 and then 5-7. There are a couple of chapters after that which mostly deal with Jesus' healing ministry and tremendous compassion for the sick, and then we come to chapter 10. Here Jesus now proceeds to send his disciples out to do as they have just seen Him do. He gives them authority to preach, cast out demons and heal the sick, and in their commissioing also gives them some teaching which we'd do well to heed ourselves.
" And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)
If you look at the context here, Jesus is clearly giving instructions that pertain to more than just the immediate mission trip at hand. Jesus is talking about a future time when brother will betray brother to death, and disciples will be delivered up to the authorities because of their witness.This means that there is something in this chapter 10 which is basically timeless teaching that applies to all generations of disciples. And Jesus is saying that in the midst of hatred and persecution that disciples will endure, it is those who endure to the end who will be saved.
This means that if we do not endure to the end in faithfulness to Jesus, if we cave in under pressure and renounce Him finally, and are not restored, we will not be saved. The Bible says elsewhere, "If we deny Him, He will deny us." And in fact in this passage of Matthew 10 itself, Jesus says:
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." (vs 32, 33)
It is not enough to START confessing Jesus before men. It seems pretty clear that we have to continue to confess Him before men while under pressure. The alternative is to deny Him – and if we do that, He will deny us before the Father. He is not going to acknowledge His ownership over those who finally deny Him. I say "finally" because the apostle Peter denied Jesus, but He was later restored to faith and also to his place and office in God's Kingdom. It is not how we start, or even how we are on our worst day – it is how we finish that matters.
Jesus also says in this passage:
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (vs 28).
He is telling us to fear God the Father who can destroy body and soul in hell. If we fear evil opposers of the gospel, we don't fear God enough. Ultimately, it is a life or death issue for us.
A lot of people I suppose believe they can escape this issue by simply living quiet lives as Christians, and never being active in sharing their faith or preaching the gospel. I am not sure that Jesus Christ gives this option to His disciples. He calls us all to speak the Word of Life, and nine times out of ten the reason people refuse to do this is FEAR. But according to Jesus. the fear of men might take us to hell. Fearing God more than men will cause us to witness for Jesus and stand fast until the end. Salvation is not promised to the fearful. In fact Revelation 21:8 says, "The fearful, the unbelieving … their part shall be in the Lake of Fire." So lets get it straight. There is a requirement of faith in obtaining the salvation in Jesus. There is also a requirement to get rid of fear.