How is it we are saved? As many would say, we are saved by faith alone. That is absolutely 100% right. We are saved by putting faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. However, the great danger is that we twist the doctrine of justification by faith into a get out of hell free card. Many reduce this doctrine into simply praying a prayer when you were a kid and then your eternity is secure. The danger is that we have turned faith into a one time decision not a life long decision. In the Scriptures we see that true faith is a lasting faith. Authentic faith is a faith that endures to the end. Let me show you in 1 Peter 1.
Salvation Comes through a Faith that Perseveres
In 1 Peter 1:6-9 Peter encourages a church in the midst of persecution. He provides a reason for why they are suffering so incredibly. Peter tells them that the reason they suffer various trials is so that their faith may be tested. This means that trails in life are testing grounds to see if our faith is legitimate. The hope is that the fires of suffering reveal whether our faith, “may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. It is in the perseverance of our faith that we receive the outcome of our faith, “the salvation of your souls”. This means that we receive our inheritance and our reward by enduring till the end. True faith is a lasting faith that survives the various trials of life that come. If we endure to the end, then we will receive our eternal reward given to us in Christ, the salvation of our souls.
Does this Mean we Earn our Salvation by Persevering?
No, we are justified by faith alone. However our perseverance reveals whether our faith is real or fake. To understand this truth better, we must look at the verses before in 1 Peter 1:3-5. Peter blesses the Lord because “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope”. In other words, God is the one who initiates our salvation causing our new birth and thus our faith. As Peter continues he tells us about an inheritance we have that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading”. This inheritance, he tells us, is kept in heaven for us. This is “by God’s power being guarded”. You see our initial faith and our persevering faith is all the result of the power of God. He is the causal agent that initiates the new birth, and He is the one who protects our inheritance and causes us to persevere to the end. In other words, God finishes what he starts. Our initial faith and our persevering faith is all an act of divine grace. It is not of our own doing, but it is the gift of God.
Trusting in God’s Power to Persevere
This means that we must pray and ask God to give us faith until the end. The only way our faith will survive to the end is if the power of God sustains it. This means we confess our utter dependency on the power of God. We cling to the cross daily and rely daily on the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us then live our Christian life with the end in sight. Salvation is more than praying a special prayer but a life sustaining faith in Jesus. Over the course of our lives we will watch friends whom we thought were Christians reject Christ and reject the Gospel. It is emotionally painful to watch, but we must remember that true faith survives till the end. May we never cease to pray that God by his power would sustain our faith until we breathe our last breath and enter into His glory.