He who endures to the end!

It is said by some people that our spiritual salvation is dependent on how we endure in this life after having our past sins forgiven by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. They base this on the statement in Matthew, Chapter 24, verse 13.

In Matthew 24:13 Jesus says,
Mat 24:13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

This is also repeated by another writer Mark in Mark 13:13
Mark 13:13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

It's always good to get the context of any saying though; so what's the context here? Let's go back to verse nine and read through to verse twenty-two.

Mat 24:9“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 1 8and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!

20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

We see here that the context is 'the great tribulation' of the end time and in this context Jesus says, "But the one who endures to the end will be saved". So, those who endure to the end of the 'great tribulation', the time of 'Jacob's trouble', will be saved.

If this means that a guide to those saved spiritually in the future is that they were good enough or strong enough mentally and/or physically to endure through the great tribulation, then one wonders what is the benchmark for those who live/d outside the time-frame of the great tribulation. What constitutes endurance for them? Putting up with 'Windows' crashing every couple of days and not moaning? Spending 2 hours to get to work because of a tube strike without griping? Having to live with only one computer, one tablet and only one mobile phone in this information rich society?

If enduring the torture and murderous conditions of the great tribulation, fleeing from death in winter maybe and surviving in faith through the worst persecution of God's people in history only just gets you saved, what hope do we have today of knowing we reach the endurance standard required for salvation?

When we look at the context of the passage though, we see that it's not the people's endurance that gets them saved. Rather, it's God cutting short the days that the tribulation lasts; There is nothing here of which we humans can boast!

And, how do we honestly tell people to follow us into the kingdom on the basis that success depends on being good enough personally to endure torture and perhaps death at the hands of Satan's forces to be saved. In other words, spiritual salvation according to your physical works! If one holds this belief then it's not the blood of Jesus that saves but rather it's the blood that you spill!

So, can we really believe that we should be showing people how WE are enduring now through Satan's trials to the standard required to gain our own salvation? Therefore we would be fitting examples to them of how to endure tribulation/persecution and procure the salvation that Jesus tantalizingly left for us to earn for ourselves by, for example, enduring through the great tribulation.

If this were true then what of John's statement under inspiration...

1 John 5:9-13 If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

John in his writing to us says that if we believe in Jesus we have (present tense) Eternal Life!

The question has to be asked - " For how long does eternal or everlasting life last?"

What about Paul's statement in Romans 4:6-8...

Rom 4:6-8 Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

So to the believer God tells us through Paul that He is not imputing our sin. Paul also tells us in Ephesians that we already have been saved. The holy scriptures tells us that as believers we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Can it be claimed that God is not being straightforward when he says these things in the Bible? Is salvation by grace, or by works because we endure to the end? I see that salvation is by grace! As a Christian who believes on Jesus and who has accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour you are saved everlastingly!

So what are the verses we quoted at the beginning of this article telling us?

First, note again that the context of the whole passage is with regard to 'physical' suffering in the 'great tribulation' and this is the theme before and after the statement regarding 'enduring to the end'!

The climax of this section in Mat 24:22 tells us that people who survive to the end will be saved 'physically' because the days are cut short and God through Jesus intervenes to stop them being killed. Verse 13 tells us they will be saved alive - verse 22 tells us why; Because Jesus Christ returns and cuts short the time of Jacob's trouble!

Another point to note is that to Christians, flight on a Sabbath is not a problem. To an orthodox Jew though, who cannot travel more that a 'Sabbath day's journey' on the Sabbath and then only walking, flight on a Sabbath is a problem. Christians travel many times more than a 'Sabbath day's journey' each Sabbath as a matter of course and using all kinds of transport systems. To a Christian it's not an issue, so we see that the whole context in which this endurance is placed is one of physical survival of Israelites and and not one of spiritual salvation and the Church!

So to most people the obvious meaning of the passage is that neither the Children of Israel (who are 'Jacob' and central to the message) nor the Church will be erased from existence and it is not referring to spiritual salvation at all but to the physical salvation of Israel. In other words they see the thought in Mat 24:13 being referenced and filled out in verse 22 of the same chapter.

So to sum up this understanding - Those who are of Israel (or others affected) who endure to the end of the great tribulation will be saved physically because the days had been cut short; otherwise no human being would be saved! In other words they are saved from physical destruction at that time because Jesus comes back and cuts short the days of wrath!

He declared that He would, when Israel said, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord".(Mat 23:39).


Now although the whole context of those scriptures is dealing with the physical, some may want to claim that, out of the blue, Jesus inserted a reference to spiritual salvation. The claim would be that your physical endurance through the great tribulation earns you spiritual salvation. Is this coroborated by other scriptures?

What does it say in Ephesians Chapter 2 regarding this?

Eph 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ ―by grace you have been saved― and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Just as it took Jesus to rescue the world from sin and Satan, it takes Jesus in us, "the saved", to live holy righteous lives. To me, those Christians living at the end who shall be the “saved” of their day, shall thus (accepting the spiritual scenario) endure to the end and meet Jesus in the air at His return!

Grace is God's unmerited favour in our lives. We have salvation because of God's grace. We have salvation because of Jesus dying in our place. Jesus is grace to us!

Grace is also God's empowerment to live righteous lives.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.

As we can see grace empowers us and teaches us to live righteously. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Thus we should see how grace is intertwined with our life in Jesus and Holy Spirit living in us. Grace teaches us and Holy Spirit teaches us and as we know, the Lord is the Spirit! (2 Cor 3:17).

That scripture in Ephesians shows salvation comes through grace and the following scripture from Galatians shows that it's not by our might but by Jesus' power that we live lives pleasing to God.

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If in contrast we are to understand that the passage in Mat 24:13 says one has to endure the great tribulation to the end to be saved spiritually, then in this life we cannot know if anyone has been saved! We cannot know anyone's heart. So any and all who claim to be Christians may not be enduring!

As mentioned before, does putting up with Windows crashing every two days without murmering constitute enduring to the end? Actually most do murmer about this, so is that sin? The murmering of the children of Israel in the wilderness was!

What about facing two hour journeys to work because of strikes without complaint - is that enduring to the end? What about facing sickness? Do Christians do this with greater endurance that non-Christians?

If we cannot tell when someone truly 'endured' to the end (death or the great tribulation), how can we say that we will see them in the kingdom? The only thing that makes sense, to me anyway, is that spiritual endurance is through reliance on Jesus. We cannot overcome Satan and our own weaknesses of ourselves. As the scriptures tells us in Rev 12:11...

Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

It's all done by accepting Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf and declaring that He is our Lord and Saviour. Of that person we can say with certainty we will see him/her in the kingdom! Not because of works but because of faith in Jesus. And having put faith in Jesus we go on in this life drawing close to God and more and more letting Christ in us be our strength.

Actually nowhere that I can see, does the bible give credence to the idea that our performance can earn us spiritual salvation. So, the only way this passage in Matthew 24:13 makes any sense to me, if it were taken to be a spiritual statement under grace, is that it's telling us that those who endure to the end will 'already' have been 'the' saved. That's why they endure! It's not that because they endure the tribulation and keep the Law that they earn spiritual salvation.

In other words, "He who endures unto the end shall be (the) saved."

As someone wiser that I once said..."No-one kept the Law before Jesus and no-one has kept it since. So if the only criteria for eternal life is to 'keep the Law', then Jesus will be very lonely in the Kingdom of God!" "And, if one is relying on being forgiven after breaking the Law, then obviously 'Keeping the Law' is not the criteria by which one is (actually) expecting to gain eternal life!"

He who knows he has been forgiven much, loves much and relies on Jesus! He who thinks he can do it himself boasts in what he believes is his own ability. Like the children of Israel in the wilderness who were continually rebelling against God, yet nevertheless boasted, "Whatever God says, we will do!"

This belief in themselves that they could keep God's laws and regulations was fiction and self-righteousness and if we think the same we will be believing in and putting our hope for salvation on fiction also!

As Jesus said in Mark, Chaper 10, verse 18.
Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why do you call me good? No one is good but God.

As a friend of mine would say, "Only God can do Godly things". In other words, it takes God to be good and do good all the time! So only 'God in us the hope of glory' can empower us and enable us to endure and overcome Satan.

Finally some may say that the phrase 'will be saved' which suggests a future event cannot be just changed to 'will be (the) saved' which suggests the past tense.

The Greek word ( σωθήσεται ) translated 'will be saved' is transliterated as sōthēsetai and according to the lexicons is in the aorist tense. This according to wikipedia at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aorist does often but not always refer to the past tense. So in this case the Greek can be rendered in line with scripture overall, whether you wish to take the whole passage in it's obvious physical context or have the line about 'enduring to the end' an inserted spiritual statement.

So if one wants to put that spiritual twist on this scripture I would argue that in the light of the grace of God, what Mat 24:13 and Mark 13:13 would say to us is this...

He who endures to the end shall be (the) saved.

In other words, those who endure to the end "are" the saved. And, because they are saved, living in Christ and Christ in them, they are able to endure, pleasing God, to the end. The apostle Paul's life would be a good example of this spiritual life under great trial! As he said in the book of Galatians....

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

So by this information, it is actually Jesus who endures through us when we succeed!

Whichever understanding of the verses in Mat 24:9-22 one prefers, purely physical or spiritual/physical, I believe Jesus is not in this passage providing people with a means of spiritual salvation by works, contrary to all other scripture, when they supposedly through great personal fortitude endure to the end!

Imagine their pride if they are able to say to all who ask them in the kingdom - "Yes, I made it into the kingdom myself because I endured to the end. It was tough, but when you've got it, you've got it!"

But what does Paul say to us in Ephesians, Chapter 2 verses 8-9...

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Attlee Brathwaite.

The Person Of The holy Spirit - R. A. Torrey. Click Here.
For more on overcoming Click Here.
For more on the work of God Click Here.
For more on the good shepherd Click Here.