“But if not…” (Daniel 3:18a.)
“If I Perish I perish…” (Esther 4)
“Let us go and die with [H]im…” (Thomas in the Gospels.)
“[The Lord Jesus saith unto Peter,] the cup which [M]y Father hath given [M]e, shall not I drink it?” (John 18:11)
Many have said, “Lord, I believe” but haven been proven unfaithful. Peter, when asked by the Lord will you also go away from me? Peter answered, in the negative and said, to whom else shall I go? Peter, here is speaking for the (12) twelve disciple but we know that (1) one of the (12) twelve would depart and betray the Lord. Note this also, The Lord asked this of Peter and the others after many other “disciples” and many other “believers” departed and followed Christ no more (John 6).
Paul in his writings to Timothy states with a broken but strengthen heart, “all have forsaken me.” All, includes Demas and Titus, of whom we read much and Paul’s letter to Titus is a book in the Canon! We know that John Mark, the author of The Gospel of Mark and Baranabas’ nephew was a deserter once. But we also know that the bonds of Christ’s great love constrained him to return as this has been the testimony of so many, this writer included.
My point is this, many have forsaken God after saying, “I believe.” How can we forget Peter, who denied His Lord just hours after promising not to?!!! Not only did Peter deny and forake his Lord once but (3) three times!!! This is not to belittle Peter, God forbid. It is to re-enforce Paul’s warning, “Take heed, lest ye fall.” Peter with broken heart was restored to his greatness and place of faithfulness by the (3) three times Christ asked him, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter was used of God to give us all hope. To give hope to all that fail the Master.
All of the men that fail God or betray Him or deny Him and those who apostatize themselves from Him all began with, “I believe.” “I believe” is a long way from, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Many have said these words, only to fall away. We see them in Scripture, we see them in history, we see them in our lifetime. How many began their race but were beset from that race? How many have started with much promise and ended with failure?
My friends, the Words of Scripture are all pure and are all true, including these, “he that endureth [continues, perseveres, walks with God] until the end shall be saved.” These are sober and grave Words spoken by Christ, Himself. Hear the words of Paul, “And you that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath [H]e reconciled in the [B]ody of [H]is [F]lesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in [H]is [S]ight: IF YE CONTINUE IN THE FAITH GROUNDED AND SETTLED, AND BE NOT MOVED AWAY FROM THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL…” (Colossians 1:21-23a.) What hard words are these, beloved? Have you never heard these words before? Many have not for many read not the Word(s) of God and many preachers refuse to teach and preach the whole counsel of God as they should. Reader, do not say, “This does not line up with what I have been taught.” Do not fall victim to, “This is just one man’s interpretation.” Beloved, I lie not…these are the Word(s) and teachings of Holy Writ.
Scripture and the doctrine of perseverance teaches this truth. This doctrine warns of the possibility of NOT Continuing and of NOT enduring. The winner of the race is not the one who starts the fastest but ends first. He that was first shall be last and he that was last shall be first.
Some preachers will tell you that examining your faith and your salvation is a great offense to God and His love. These preachers are not speaking God’s truth. Paul said, “examine thyself to see if you are in the faith.” Peter said, “Make your calling and election sure…” he did not mean be sure you have said the sinner’s prayer. God forbid! Peter is telling you that your life and your works will make certain of you election and calling. The proof is in the works. James said, “Without works, faith is dead.” Christ said, “By their fruits you shall know them.”
My readers, it is your works, your life style, your choices, your words, and what you do with your time that shows faith, for faith can be seen. When you look into the mirror of God’s Word, what do you see? Do you see a person who is sinning less? Do you see a person that loves God more? Do you see a person that loves people more? Do you see a person who is growing in grace and the knowledge of God? Do you see a person that gives any thought to being Christ like? Do you see a person who has attended Church but has not changed for the better? Do you see a person that desires God’s will over your own? Do you see a person that has been decreasing so that Christ might increase? Do you see a person who can say, “I am crucified with Christ?” Do you see a person who lies when singing hymns? Do you see a person who is happy in their state of sin? Do you see a person who is going through the motions?
From our quoted texts above, The (3) three Hebrew men were ordered to bow to a graven image and they refused. They said, we will not bow for our God is able to deliver us, but if not, we still will not bow to your image. Reader, this is living faith. This is God’s grace manifested before believers and unbelievers alike. Most of you know of the events of which I speak but for review, these (3) three faith-filled lovers of God were, in fact, thrown into a fire to be burned alive, however, when the outraged king looked into the fire he saw a (4th) forth Man, like unto the Son of God. Yes, their faith was tried and tested and proven and God, as God will do, honoured that faith.
What about Esther? Did her words and life back up her faith? The words of Esther are, “If I perish, I perish.” She was putting her life and the lives of the Jews into the Hands of God. Persons in that culture did not approach the king per their whims. No, lest the king calls for you and extends his sceptre to you- you are not to approach unto the king. If this policy is broken the person who approached un-called for would be put to death. Because of this protocal Esther said, “If I perish, I perish.” These are words and works of a living faith.
The next (2) two passages are from the New Testament. Christ says to His disciples that it is time to enter Jerusalem. His disciples knowing that to enter Jerusalem is a death wish tried to warn Him off from His actions. Then Thomas said, “Let us go and die with [H]im.” Some might think these are words of doubt and dread. But nay, o’ man, these be the words of loyalty anf faithfulness.
Then, we have the Words of Christ, ” the cup which my Father giveth unto [M]e, shall I not drink it?” or in other words, All that Christ has taught them, all that Christ has shown them comes down to this moment and this cup. And He drank from that cup because Adam ate from that fruit. Yea, The Works, the Words, the Ways of Christ all supported His Faith, never did He at any time falter, fall, or fail.
My Reader, What doth thy faith say and do?