Jesus said, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
People who turn away from and reject God don’t lose their salvation, they just show that they weren’t saved to begin with. Jesus said no man can pluck out of his hand, that includes ourselves. Understanding what true salvation is, and what happens to us at salvation (the new birth – a new creature born inside us) is crucial to understanding endurance and eternal security. Yes, we can backslide like Lot, but unlike Saul, true Christians do not have God’s mercy withdrawn from them. God did not take his mercy from Solomon, but he did from Saul. God looks on the inside, God knows. God’s Word cuts between profession and reality. While we may fool man in this life, we cannot fool God. We can profess, but in the end have Jesus tell us, Depart from me, I know not whence ye are. I never knew you. Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Whether we are saved or not depends on if the incorruptible seed of the Word of God has fallen on the good ground – Matthew 13. Many hear and even receive the word of God, but if it falls by the wayside, on the stony ground or among thorns, we are not truly saved. During our lifetime on earth, God uses the fiery trials of life to prove us, and whether we endure or not shows whether we have Christ or not. God sorts the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats. God not only sorts us, but also tries our faith to purify us, to make us stronger and more faithful and reliant and loving towards him.
John 21:2 – There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
John 21:3 – Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
In John 21, after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter had returned to his old occupation, fishing. He had denied Christ despite talking up a big game and his best intentions. It was devastating, and the wheels had started to fall off. Being saved does not mean we avoid trials and tribulations here on earth. We have Satan, the world, the flesh to deal with, we have a war inside us that we did not have before we were saved, Romans 7. We have this treasure in earthen vessels.
But he was truly saved, God looks on the inside. Jesus makes sure we finish the course. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it – 1 Thessalonians 5:24. The bush doesn’t burn because God is in it. The three Hebrew children did not burn because the Son of God was in the fire with them.
What made Peter endure was the reality of his heart’s answer to Jesus, when Jesus asked him, But whom say ye that I am? Matthew 16:15,16. Peter’s answer shows why Jesus would endure in him. Peter said, Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God. Upon this rock, Jesus has built his church. The true church of God consists of born again believers, it is the body of Christ. Peter was part of that church, and so are all of those of us who are saved today. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the true church of God. The true church of God is built on the rock. The rock is the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel, that Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose for our sins is the basis of our lives, existence and worship.
John 21:4 – But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore.
Jesus did not leave Peter where he was. He does not forsake us.
Peter was the genuine article, God used circumstances, even denying Jesus, to sort the wheat from the chaff in his life. He was in the hands of the potter. Peter would go on to stand up with the eleven and preach at Pentecost. He fulfilled what Jesus prayed for him, that his faith would fail not, and that when he was converted, he would strengthen the brethren. God endures in us. When we are born again, Christ is in us. Christ dwells in our heart by faith. We always endure to the end when Christ is in us, not because we ourselves endure of our own effort, but because Christ in us does.
2 Timothy 1:12 – For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.