Every person goes through what is called a trial of faith in which the individual has their faith tested from a place of doubt, fear, peer-pressure, sadness, and pride. Knowing that all would endure such distress, the apostle John writes by inspiration, “Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10b). Satan will put every follower of God through trials, an endless prison of temptation until the person dies. Each trial will last a certain amount of time, and then, when the Christian overcomes the temptation, there will be a time of peace and relief, until Satan takes up the challenge again (James 4:7; Luke 4:13). Notice John writes, “unto death” meaning that a Christian must be faithful until he/she dies and may even need to be faithfully resilient in the face of death.
Satan’s greatest tool is the fear of the unknown. People sin because they fear the pain of death, they fear being alone, rejected by family and friends, being a social pariah, experiences they have never known and cannot stand to imagine. Therefore, the followers of God must “be strong and of a good courage,” which is what God tells Joshua when he faced the fear of the unknown (Josh. 1:6). The writer of the book wisdom in the New Testament writes, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12). The crown of life will only be received by those who endure to the end, those who possess the strength of faithfulness.
God provides the tools that every Christian will need against the trials of Satan! In Paul’s epistle to the church in Ephesus in which he discusses the power and blessings of the church, the inspired author explains God’s armor for the Christian against the “wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). Paul exhorts, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (vs. 14). A Christian must know the truth (John 8:32; 17:17). Truth is not subjective or different for every person as many postmodern theologists will promote (Heb. 13:8; 2 Cor. 10:5). Righteousness is the breastplate. Paul describes the true righteousness of salvation in Romans 10. One must follow the righteousness of God while avoiding “going about to establish their own righteousness” (Rom. 10:3).
Paul further reveals, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). Christians must be “set for the defence of the gospel” (Phil. 1:17), which requires that they know and study the example and teachings of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The apostle then reveals, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16). A Christian’s greatest strength is a biblical faith (Rom. 10:17). Faith exists as a Christian’s trust and confidence in God and the evidence for the truth (Heb. 11:1; Phil. 4:13). If a Christian’s faith cannot be defended through the Bible, then it is useless. Why? Paul answers, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). The Bible is the sword, the only offensive weapon given to Christians by God. Without the sword to fight, the shield will eventually wear down from all the beatings (Heb. 4:12). The helmet is salvation. One strong blow to the head and the soldier is dead, so protecting the head is preeminent! Christians receive salvation in the blood of Christ for the remission of sins (Eph. 1:7). A Christian cannot hold his/her head high to the Devil while not having the head protected!
Many denominations and church leaders will preach that God will never take back the gift of grace. Once given, the grace of God will never leave a person; this doctrine is often called “Once Saved Always Saved” or “Eternal Security.” However, the apostle Paul warns, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). In the direct context, Paul warns the Christians in Galatia that they will fall from grace trying to justify themselves in the Law of Moses. Peter likewise admonishes, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (2 Peter 2:22). Peter warns those who have been saved by Christ and turn away from God into sinfulness, they will go to a place in hell far worse than those who were never obedient. Simon the sorcerer was saved in baptism by Philip’s preaching (Acts 8:12-13) but fell from his grace in greediness (Acts 8:18-20). Peter rebukes this Christian, telling him, “Thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (vs. 21). Even after being baptized, Simon’s heart fell to wickedness.
There exist too many warnings in the Bible for the Christian to think that he/she could never fall away into sinfulness after having been saved. The Christian must make an effort to STAY faithful because it is possible for the follower of God to fall from the Faith and be turned into condemnation. To stay faithful, God commands that the Christ “grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) – attend Bible studies and personally study the Bible to never stop learning (If you have not been taught or learned anything new about God’s will in a long time, you are falling away!). Likewise, God says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (Heb. 10:25) – go to worship service every chance given (If you haven’t been to the worship service in a long time and have a waning desire to go, you are falling away!). God further commands that all Christian take an active part in the ministry (Eph. 4:13-16; Matt. 18:19-20; 2 Tim. 4:1-2) – participate in church work, church events, church fellowship (If you have not talked to someone about the Bible in a while, if you have not attended a church event in a while, if you have not called your brethren in a while, you are falling away!). Christians can never let themselves become so distracted by the world and kind preachers that never teach doctrine that they fail to see themselves slowly slipping into apostacy!!
- UNDERSTANDING GOD (Part 4: Why Did God Create So Much Division?)
- UNDERSTANDING GOD (Part 3: Did God Create Sin Just to Condemn Humanity With It?)
- UNDERSTANDING GOD (Part 2: Can God Create A Rock So Big That Even He Cannot Lift It?)
- UNDERSTANDING GOD (Part 1: Why Create a Condemned World?)
- WINE AND THE BIBLE (Part 5: Arguments in Defense of Social Drinking)