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As you resist temptation, keep a close watch on the stories around you, not with a prurient interest and certainly not with a sense of moral superiority, but with a sense of warned empathy. You could be in every one of those situations. Feel the horror that comes with each of them.
Also, though, keep before your conscience the warnings of eternal loss. I recognize that this section will probably trouble many of you so let me preface it by saying what I’m not arguing. I am not arguing that you ought to be wondering whether or not Jesus will reject you and you’ll go to ****. I believe one who is genuinely born from above by the Spirit will continue in that faith until the very end. The one who believes in Christ will be raised with him at the last day (Jn. 6:40). But, at the same time, no one will be saved who doesn’t “endure to the end” (Matt. 10:22; 24:13; Mk. 13:13). The Spirit ensures that the living faith that begins at the onset of the Christian life continues throughout it.
Spirit - Warnings - Promises - Order - Faith
And the Spirit uses warnings, as well as promises, in order to prod us along to continued faith and repentance. If I’m tempted to deny Jesus in the face of persecution, the Spirit prompts me to remember that “whoever denies me before men, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33). When I am tempted to refuse to forgive, the Spirit prompts me to consider that “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:15). This needn’t create a lack of assurance. The Apostle Paul, after all, knew with complete certainty that he was saved; he had seen the Lord Jesus and heard his...
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