The disciple-making minister never teaches anything that works against the goal of making disciples. Thus, he never says anything that would make people feel comfortable with disobeying the Lord Jesus. He never presents God’s grace as a means to sin without fear of judgment. Rather, he presents God’s grace as a means to repent of sin and live an overcoming life. Scripture, as we know, declares that only overcomers will inherit God’s kingdom (see Rev. 2:11; 3:5; 21:7).
Some modern ministers, unfortunately, hold to unbiblical doctrines that do great damage to the goal of making disciples. One such doctrine that has become very popular in the United States is that of unconditional eternal security, or “once saved always saved.” This doctrine maintains that born again people can never forfeit their salvation regardless of how they live their lives. Because salvation is by grace, they say, the same grace that initially saves people who pray to receive salvation will keep them saved. Any other viewpoint, they maintain, is tantamount to saying that people are saved by their works.
Naturally, such a viewpoint is a great detriment to holiness. Since obedience to Christ is supposedly not essential for one to enter heaven, then there is little motivation to obey Jesus, especially when obedience is costly.
As I stated earlier in this book, the grace that God extends towards humanity does not relieve people of responsibility to obey Him. Scripture states that salvation is not just by grace, but also through faith (see Eph. 2:8). Both grace and faith are necessary for salvation. Faith is the proper response to God’s grace, and true faith always results in repentance and obedience. Faith without works is dead, useless, and cannot save, according to James (see James 2:14-26).
That is why Scripture repeatedly declares that continued salvation is dependent upon continued faith and obedience. There are scores of scriptures that make this abundantly clear. For example, Paul states in his letter to the Colossian believers:
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven (Col. 1:21-23, emphasis added).
It couldn’t be clearer. Only a theologian could mistake or twist Paul’s meaning. Jesus will confirm us blameless if we continue in the faith. This same truth is reiterated in Rom. 11:13-24, 1 Cor. 15:1-2 and Heb. 3:12-14; 10:38-39, where it is clearly stated that final salvation is contingent upon continuance in faith. All contain the conditional word if.