And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. [Jesus as quoted in the book of Mark 13.13]
When I first read these words about nine years ago, my life was revolutionized. Two reasons:
We live in a culture of easy-believism. People who grew up in church tout the phrase, “Once saved always saved.” The problem is they don’t know what it means to be saved. That is, the people I am thinking of that go on the defense when you ask them why they don’t attend church or continue to live a life of sin…these do not know what it means to be saved. Merely getting baptized as a baby or a pre-pubescent teen does nothing for your soul. Baptism is the confession of a greater reality.
I knew there was something wicked about someone saying, “I am saved” when their life did not prove any different. In fact, this is what led me to dabble in the New Age movement, Buddhism, atheism, agnosticism, et al. I was convinced that the people who claimed to be saved yet lived no differently had nothing to offer me.
Maybe you’re that person…
Secondly, Jesus said these words to his disciples as he was on the road to being crucified. He was getting ready to be scourged and nailed like a placard to a splintered piece of wood. He assured his followers that they too would suffer. He assures us that any who desire to live a godly life will suffer (2 Tim 3.12). You can put all your money on it.
While this isn’t the most uplifting thing, the promise that “the one who endures to the end will be saved” is strength to my bones. The one who rests in Christ’s hands can have all Hell hurled at him, but he will endure to the end because none can snatch him out of his hand (Jn 10.28). My desire is to live a godly life and so I can expect to suffer persecution – whether at work, or the grocery, a job interview, or my own family and friends. I will suffer because my world-view is so very different than the world’s. But I take comfort from the fact that although the world forsake me, I will not be forsaken.