“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spread out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought” (Jeremiah 17:7,8).

Though the context is a message to Judah, the principle is the same today…spiritual security/faithfulness is an individual matter coupled with God’s mercy and grace! Trust and hope in the Lord grows as we feed daily upon His Word…i.e., living water! Jesus, the Christ stated it thus: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31.32 emp. added). Did you note the individual responsibility? (Abide: continue, dwell, endure, remain, stand, tarry; Know: to be taken in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand)

This same mindset is declared through Jude, a bondservant of Jesus, “But, you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20,21 emp. added). Again, did you note the individual responsibility?

After the apostle Peter places the challenge to diligently add to your faith, moral excellent, knowledge, self- control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love, he then sets forth the warming, “For he who lacks the qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins” (2 Peter 1:9). Then, he turned to the positive, blessings in spiritual security. “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And now, he stresses the individual responsibility of security, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you, for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (2 Peter 1:10,11). It does not require a PHD or DD to understand the simplicity of these truths. To borrow a phrase from Revelation, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says.

Amid the many challenges and exhortations to spiritual security, the Word of God deals with the reality of falling away from the Truth and the eternal consequences. Due to the theme of the letter called Hebrews, it is replete with such warnings: “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is till called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”; “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him so said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 3:12,13; 10:26-31). Dear reader, please do not brush this aside as trivial information. It is a matter of eternity…consider carefully!! This reflects what the Messiah said in Matthew 24:13, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

A final exhortation on individual responsibility in spiritual security: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work our your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God, who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12,13 emp. added). Amen!

Frank Parker is a Sebring resident. Columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.

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