Salvation is of the Lord. The Scriptures are absolutely clear about that. What about condemnation? Who is responsible for the result of sin? Over the years I've run into many people. including long-time attendees at faithful churches, including several pastors, who have suggested that people who have never heard of Jesus and who die will be received into heaven because of God's mercy. Yet that doesn't square with Scripture. On the contrary, the Bible clearly points out the exclusivity of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. There is salvation in no other name. Therefore, Christian mission is of paramount importance.
But what of the person who seems to have been faithful to Christ but no longer seems to be a believer? What do we make of that person? Was his faith not true, as the Calvinist would say? Was he deceived? Or maybe he was deceiving people? Hebrews 2.1-4 would seem to speak to this issue. We are warned against drifting away from the Christian faith, denying the Gospel, neglecting our salvation. The very fact that we are warned strictly against that should alert us to the fact that true believers can neglect their salvation and depart from the faith. It's unthinkable, but very real. Salvation is of the Lord. Condemnation we cannot blame on him. We have to take the blame for that ourselves.
Let us hold fast to the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that he himself has purchased our salvation, and that we cannot earn that salvation ourselves. Let us nourish our faith by Word and Sacraments, reveling in the mystery of Jesus' presence for us. Salvation is from the Lord.
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