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As you know, I believe that when Jesus does rapture the church many church members will be left behind. It is my belief, if you have had the opportunity to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and do not accept Him in true repentance, you will go through the tribulation period.
I also believe, as stated in earlier writings, that those who have had the opportunity of salvation before the rapture, will no longer be granted this opportunity of salvation during the tribulation period. I have been asked by many, "If someone has heard the Gospel but has rejected it, will he/she be able to be saved during the tribulation period?" By all indications, according to the scriptures, God will send strong delusions that they will believe a lie, and be damned (II Thes. 2:3-12), because they loved unrighteousness more than the truth.
I had a man email me about a year ago about an article I had written regarding this very subject. I had mentioned in the article that I believed in "once saved always saved", but probably not the way most churches preach it. I simply stated that when a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior he/she will stay saved. You will no longer practice sin as a lifestyle. You may sin but you won't stay there.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of church members who profess Christ but have one foot in the world and one foot in the church. Well this person was practicing this lifestyle. He started out blasting me for warning people that they were taking an awful chance when they practice running to Jesus and then into the world, then running back to Jesus and then back out into the world. He then went on to tell how he had done this several times and Jesus was always there to welcome him back with open arms.
This person is literally playing with fire. I didn't say he wasn't saved, only God knows that, but his lifestyle is contrary to that of a true believer in this writer's opinion. The following verse's explain the difference between a professor (one who says he is a Christian) and a possessor (one who practices Christ in his everyday walk).
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:21-27
Professing Christ does not automatically grant you salvation. Even the outward verbal acknowledgment of His Lordship is in itself not enough to save the unbeliever a part from true repentance and faith. A genuinely saved person is one that does the will of the Father, the Greek present tense meaning that he is continually living in obedience to the will of God as the normal course of his life. He may fail at times, but his general course of consistency is to obey the will of God.
It is tragic to note that in that day many will profess him as Lord and yet will be lost. On what do they base their profession? Their many wonderful works cause them to think that they have attained salvation and yet the response of Christ, pictured here as the Judge, will be I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
In drawing His concluding illustration of the two foundations, Jesus begins with the word "Therefore". On the basis of all that He has taught and illustrated, He concluded that all who both hear and do His sayings shall be saved. He is not adding works to faith, but, as James reminds us, He is showing faith by its works, faith is the root of salvation and works are its fruit. The works of man do not produce his own salvation. In fact, to the contrary. This entire message shows that man's human efforts alone are vain in gaining his salvation. Having made His point, Jesus also clearly stated that while salvation is by faith, it is by a faith which shows itself in a changed life.
Are you a professor or a possessor? Don't take a chance. The only way to know for sure is to ask Jesus into your heart, place Him first in your life, and never look back. Only Jesus can save you and present you spotless until that final day.
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