Jesus, his Son, God will graciously forgive them, personally adopt them into his cherished family, and give them eternal life and joy.
Which raises a question... Does your hope then hang perilously on
whether you continue to trust Jesus (and therefore turning back to him when you sin)?
In “Hebrews” (a letter in the Bible written to suffering Christians who
may well have been tempted to stop trusting Jesus), the writer says
“...you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36).
In other words, there is a sense in which our salvation “hangs” on whether we continue trusting Jesus (and therefore turning back to him and receiving God’s forgiveness afresh when we sin).
To be crystal clear about this: we shouldn’t lack any sense of assurance about our salvation when we sin (we’re saved by grace!) but we have to ask ourselves some hard questions when we stop repenting of sin! If Jesus really is our Lord and Saviour, that means following him!
Lest we be in any doubt, vv.26-31 of the same chapter make the same
point (with frightening clarity!).
But isn’t that’s pretty unnerving? Because when trusting Jesus becomes
costly (in many countries it means risking your life), the temptation to
permanently stop doing so can be very strong indeed.
Are we left to conclude that a Christian’s hope ultimately hangs
perilously on us and the strength of our trust?
No, I don’t think it does (cue huge sigh of relief!).
Though (in one sense) our hope “hangs” on our persevering in faith,
that doesn’t ultimately put our hope in “peril”. Notice what the writer of Hebrews goes on to say:
“...you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
Whilst the temptation to stop trusting Jesus when times get tough is
real and dangerous, he has confidence that he and his Christian readers will indeed persevere to the end and “preserve their souls”.
How can he be so confident? The answer I see in Scripture is this: God
has the power to draw us back to him and keep us trusting him. And if he is able to do that for his children, we can be sure he will do that for his children (I’ve included some verses below that express just this kind of confidence).
The good news is that, once we come to a personal faith in Jesus, God
doesn’t leave us alone to fight this battle; he’s with us every step of the way - to the very end. “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
If you’ve never given up your independence and trusted Jesus, I urge you to do so – he will gladly receive you!
If you have done that, but you’re now going your own way, I urge you to
return to him – he will gladly receive you too (Luke 15:11-32)!
And if you're still trusting Jesus, I urge you to continue doing so with joy in your heart, because...
‘I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.’
‘No one born of God makes a practice of sinning [that is, indefinitely keeps on sinning without remorse], for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.’
(1 John 3:9 – both a warning and a promise!)
‘Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you [that is, set you apart as positively different, like him] completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.’
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
‘Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty,
dominion and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.’