One Year Bible
New Testament passage for Thurs., December 6, 2012: II John 1:1-13
Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. II John 1:8 (NIV)
One of the hot topics that can float around in Christian circles is the assurance of salvation. People battle over terminology and practical meaning. Phrases such as "once saved -- always saved", "the security of the believer", and "eternal security" can be fighting words in some areas of church discussion.
My personal belief is that a person who has experienced a true, life-transforming encounter with Jesus Christ is a new person (II Co. 5:17). He or she has become a new creature in Christ by a powerful work of the Holy Spirit. Even though they might experience occasional lapses or lows in their walk with God, if they have truly been born again, they will endure. Their faith will remain and they will go to heaven.
This does not mean that anyone who has had some sort of emotional experience when they are young can then live a lawless and non-believing life and still expect salvation because that one handshake gave them a quarantee. The security of salvation is not license to live lawlessly. There is such a thing as "false salvation" in which someone goes through the motions but still remains unregenerate.
When John speaks of "losing that which we have worked for", he is not talking about salvation. First off, WE DIDN'T WORK FOR OUR SALVATION. Jesus did! You did not merit God's grace. That is the very nature of grace -- it is unearned and undeserved.
John here is speaking of faithfulness, service, and reward. This has nothing to do with your standing before God as a citizen of heaven. It has everything to do with your fruitfulness and effectiveness in this life.
We might use as an example a garden. Anyone who has ever planted and grown a garden knows one thing: it must be maintained. It must be watered, weeded, and worked. If you fail to maintain your garden, you will lose it. It will revert to weeds and waste. Your life is the same way. Even though you are a true son or daughter of God, you need to daily "weed the garden". You need to water it and fertilize it. Why? Because you could lose the reward. You may still have a garden, but it will not bear any fruit.
John tells us to stay sharp. Stay vigilant. Don't let down your guard. You can be so very glad that God's grace helps you through thick and thin, and your eternal destiny is secure in Jesus. But, we still need to be aware that we have an enemy who seeks to rob us of our rewards. These rewards are the fruit of faithful service that God has promised you. He says that even if you give a cup of cold water to a stranger in the name of the Lord, you will be rewarded for such "small" compassionate actions.
If you will stay connected to Jesus, your reward will be great! That's a promise from God.