“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
We are quite comfortable with the above verse, until, of course, we come to that little word “if.” It jumps out at us like a bugbear, startling us, even disturbing us. Why say that, Paul? Why toss in an “if.” It sounds like you’re positing a condition to salvation? Isn’t our salvation secure?
Even more forceful passages could be gathered from the apostolic letters, exhortations warning us of the dire consequences of committing apostasy. The book of Hebrews certainly comes to mind.
So what are we to do with such statements? Brush them under the rug? Explain them away? Perhaps we should just flip the page quickly?
In today’s interview with Dr. Ardel Caneday, co-author of the insightful book The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance, we’ll explore the biblical relationship between promise and warning, assurance and perseverance.
For myself, I am convinced that Dr. Caneday and Dr. Schreiner have provided the church with an invaluable resource, helping us understand how these two thorny and often polarizing concepts harmonize with one another. If after listening to the interview, you’re interested in learning more, you can find the book online at Amazon. Just click the link below.