Enduring/Overcoming To The End.

Have you heard those sayings that start out - "There are two types of..."?
Well sometimes it seems that there are two types of Christian!

There are those who go through really trying times for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. You even have Christ bringing them to our attention in -

Mat 24:9-13.
Mat 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Mat 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

They are also mentioned in -
Mar 13:9-13
Mar 13:9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
Mar 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
Mar 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
Mar 13:12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
Mar 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

For the sake of Christ and the Gospel, these are they that are thrown into prison, tortured, and killed. They are betrayed by friends, family and others and the end result is that they have to endure these things to their life's end, literally losing their lives for Christ's name.

But Christ says that when they do this, they will be saved!

Now salvation is a gift from God. No one can earn it. This is not talking about people getting spiritual salvation because they endure pain and suffering to the end of their lives. Or of getting salvation because one keeps attending Church until death! For as Paul says in Ephesians Chapter 2...
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

No, it's saying that they will be saved from physical death because Jesus returns to bring God's rule to the earth!

We humans are not capable of surviving against Satan on our own. Do you remember how when Satan asked God for leave to attack Job, that God set the bounds beyond which Satan could not go? Notice Job 1:12.
Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

God places limits on what Satan can do against God's people otherwise we could not survive! Even the death of a man or woman of God when facing trials for the sake of the kingdom is not because Satan has triumphed or that a Christian has failed! Nor is it because the Christian is so righteous that Satan cannot defeat him/her and kills them in a fit of pique!

Even under the Old Covenant God would not let His righteous ones see defeat through Satan's wiles; at the end of their lives they died in faith.
Notice Isa 57:1
Isa 57:1 The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.

God in some cases allowed the righteous (whose righteousness is the righteousness of Christ, not their own) to die as an escape from evil to come. So Satan could not do more to them physically! their spiritual salvation was of course safe in the Christ to come!

This is made even clearer in Paul's writings in 1Co 10:13.
1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

This last quote is speaking more generally about the trials we can face in New Covenant times, and shows the principle in God's mind. He is with you to protect you and save you from failure! Notice that it's because God provides the way of escape, that a Christian can endure a trial! Jesus has won the victory on the cross for all of us!

So, going back to Mar 13:13; these Christians don't endure because THEY are holy and righteous but rather, because GOD provides the way of escape! It ALL depends on HIM!

As he inspired Paul to write also in Phi 1:6
Phi 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

We know that he is always with us. He said that he would never leave us or forsake us. He said that he would be with us to the end! And, he also said in -
Joh 10:27-29
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.

So, what do you think brings a trial by Satan to an end? Does it end when Satan realises how 'Holy and Righteous' that Christian is? Therefor he might as well give up trying to break him/her and move on to another 'Less Righteous' Christian who won't endure to the end?

Or, does it end when God draws a line and makes a way for the Christian to escape, before he/she is tested beyond what they could bear? And in the case of Matt 25:9-22, we see (from verse 22), that those people of God are saved because Jesus returns and cuts short the time of Satan's persecution of the saints and children of Israel.

Are we saved from Satan's trials because of our righteousness or God?

I believe it's because of God, and all these people facing trials for the sake of Christ are safe in following Jesus. Their spiritual salvation is already sure. They are not 'hoping for the best', the way the world hopes. No, what Christ wants us to remember is that while the people who instigate their persecution may say - "Where is your God? Why does he not come down and rescue you?"; we will know that a crown is stored in Heaven for every one of them, and God has a way of escape from the clutches of satan!

But what of the rest of us? Those of us who are not facing such trials, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, that will lead us either to the brink of death or to death itself? Those of us who thereby are NOT having to 'endure to the end' of our lives, in the terms of Mark 13:13?

What should be our demeanour?

Now I know that when you lose all the work that you've done on your computer that day because your PC crashed, it can seem that Satan is persecuting you sorely, and that these are trials that you have to endure to the end, but I don't think that it's what Christ meant in Mark 13:9-13!!

What role then does he have for us?

We know from 2Th 1:11-12 that we are to live lives worthy of our calling...
2Th 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
2Th 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are to live in Christ, using all opportunities that come our way to glorify the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Are we doing that? Are we letting the Holy Spirit of Christ lead us in the way that we should go, or are we going our own way and asking Christ to bless that? Do we acknowledge the Power of God in our lives or do we act as though God is limited by circumstances? God is not limited by the tools we have!

We also know from Mark 16:15 and other verses that we have a job to do -
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

We are to let people know the good news that Jesus Christ has died for them and been resurected again, now sitting in Heaven and offering them salvation as a free gift.

But that is 'What' we have to do not 'How' we are to do it!

James though gives us a 'how', in Jam 1:2-3
Jam 1:2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of temptations,
Jam 1:3 knowing that the trying of your faith works patience.
Jam 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing

So, the 'smaller' trials that befall the rest of us are to test our faith also, but while being tested we are to count these things as a joy not a persecution!

Now, I do not think that we are meant to be skipping and laughing about the trials that we face 'because of our stand as Christians'. I believe that we are meant to see them as 'challenges to God's authority' and be joyful knowing that in His good time, He will work them out to His Glory and our good.

As He says in Rom 8:28
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

And as we wait for God to work them out we develop patience on the path to becoming that perfect work of God's hands, which having begun - He will accomplish! And we can take joy in that.

That is I believe how we should be facing the trials that come our way, for the sake of the Gospel. We can count them all Joy, in the working out of God's purpose here on earth. For us, those around us, and those whom he brings to us as appointments for His opening the Gospel through us. And knowing that OUR salvation is also sure!

Why? Because it depends not on us but on a righteous God who keeps his promises.

We have a God who is ALMIGHTY, and we must be careful we do not believe instead in a form of God which denies his Power! God is not hoping to save his people, He WILL save his people!

Remember what God says to us through Jude.
Jud 1:24-25 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 Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.


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How long was Christ in the grave Click Here.
For more on which law for Christians Click Here.


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