It’s the End That Counts

Description

The steps of Jesus don’t take us the easy way; they take us the way of endurance. It takes perseverance to keep on following Christ to the end.

And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be save”  (Mark 13:10-13)

This passage presents Jesus’ realistic appraisal of how things will unfold on earth as the end approaches. Not only will the gospel be proclaimed to all nations, but those who proclaim it will also bear the cost. Some will be brought to trial, some betrayed by siblings, parents and children, and some will give their lives. Those associated with Jesus’ name will be hated by all. Then He adds, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Jesus’ closing thought ought to concern you. He was stating a condition to salvation that is both easy to miss and easy to misunderstand. Here’s the part we miss: He who endures “to the end will be saved" —not the one who starts well, but the one who finishes well. Although the context indicates that Jesus was speaking about the close of history, His words also apply to the course of our lives. Unless Christ returns during our lifetime, you and I will have a final breath. The point isn’t when, but how we will get to the end of life. Will we cross the finish line enduring or not?

And here’s the part that is easy to misunderstand: Jesus is not saying you are saved by enduring. He is saying that those who are truly saved do endure.

This is reinforced in 1 John 2:19, as the apostle John writes of those who claimed to be believers, but who didn’t endure and didn’t persevere. John said, “They went out from us because they were not of us. If they had of been of us, they would have remained with us, but they went out from us so that it might be manifested that they were in fact never really of us.” 

That’s not talking about local church membership. John was not describing people who leave a church; he was talking about people who leave the Church —people who depart from faith in Christ. People who backslide and never return make it very clear they never really had saving faith.

The longer you follow Christ, the clearer you can see how easy it is to pray a prayer of confession, to walk an aisle, or to confess faith in Christ in a safe and loving environment. But the steps of Jesus don’t take us the easy way; they take us the way of endurance. It takes perseverance to keep on following Christ —even when it’s hard, when the pressure is on. 

He who endures to the end will be saved. Let Jesus’ words guide you as you examine yourself. Do you see evidence of your salvation? Then you can rest and rejoice, because when you are truly saved, God will give you everything you need to endure —to the very end.

Journal

  • In what parts of your life are you practicing endurance?
  • What is your plan for walking close to Christ right to the end?

Prayer: Lord, if the people Your Son spoke to needed a reality check, I know I need one too. Help me hang on to You with everything I’ve got, living out my faith in You one day at a time. Never let me lose my sense of dependence on You. Keep me pressing on as I follow in Your Son’s steps, realizing it is Your plan to use my time here to grow me into someone more and more like Him. Your will be done, Father, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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