by Jeremy Walker /
Read all the posts in this 16-part series on the essential truths of the Christian faith.
HOW DO WE REMAIN IN CHRIST TO THE END? Part 4
We come now to the final installment in this series. When all is said and done, how ought we believers in Christ to think and feel and act? Having once been fallen, we have by grace been chosen, redeemed, and called, and we will each endure to the end by God’s unwavering mercy and protection. This is a great and glorious arc, with eternal ramifications. Here, then, the conclusion of Jeremy Walker’s Anchored in Grace.
Thankfulness. How these things should stir us to thankfulness for divine grace and faithfulness! The God who planned this work from before the foundation of the world, and who has begun this good work in us, will complete it. He himself has said that he will never leave us or forsake us. If God is for us, who can be against us? All these sweet truths ought to stir the heart to thankful joy.
Encouragement. But how much encouragement is also found here? Perhaps some readers have never come to Christ because they are afraid they cannot keep with Christ. That is like a drowning man refusing to trust the lifeguard because the drowning man cannot swim. But that is the whole point! Finding nothing in ourselves, no strength or wisdom by means of which to obtain or maintain our salvation, we come to Christ to save us and to keep us, providing all required by every one of his people. He will save us, and he will keep us saved to the end by all necessary means and giving all needful grace.
Discernment. This calls for discernment: have you come to this Christ? Have you heard his voice and followed him? Many people make very bold claims for themselves or on behalf of others, but here is a key question: are you living a life of righteousness as one responding to the gracious call and gospel commands of the Lord Jesus, or are you disregarding God and his Word? The man or woman, boy or girl, who lives without regard to God and his truth is not a Christian, whatever they may say or demand. If you or someone else do not live as a Christian, then it is a folly and a crime for you, anyone else, and the church of Christ as a whole, to pretend that you are one:
For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43–45 NKJV)
Direction. That makes all of this also a matter of direction. Sinners must flee to Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Whoever knows that they are lost should come to Christ. Whoever fears that they are lost should come to Christ. Those who doubt and wrestle should cling to Christ. Those who think they stand should hold to Christ, lest they fall. There is no lasting peace or firm assurance far from Christ. A holy, healthy, and happy Christian life is lived close to the cross, entertaining at once the deepest views of sin and the highest views of God and the most expansive views of divine grace in the Son of God.
Exhortation. Here also is a ground of exhortation: trust and obey! Hold fast and press on! There is no contradiction between these commands. On the one hand there is the warning of Matthew 7:21–23 NKJV:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Immediately following there is the assurance of Matthew 7:24–25 (NKJV):
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
These things belong together; they flow into one another; they complement each other. We must build on the rock: the rock is our foundation, and we build upon it. We must look to Christ and live for Christ to the end, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us both to will and to do for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12–13 NKJV). Every true child of God must and does, in dependence on Christ’s Spirit and as the result of new life in his soul, obey Peter’s command:
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. (2 Peter 1:5–10 NKJV)
Comfort and hope. Never lose sight, either, of the comfort and hope that these truths contain. God will keep his people. We are utterly weak, but he is infinitely strong. We are feebler than we can imagine; God is mightier than we can calculate. His purposes are sure, his promises are true, his providences are wise, his provisions are complete, his precepts are sweet, his person is altogether love.
Praise. And so all comes to praise to this great God for his so-great salvation. As we consider the plan of his redeeming love we find before us a display of grace from beginning to end. There is no part of our salvation that is not rooted in, prompted by, and awash in God’s free favor. God’s grace in Christ underpins each element and undergirds each step. Christians are being, have been, and will be saved to the praise of God’s glorious grace (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV, Ephesians 1:12 NKJV, Ephesians 1:14 NKJV). No Christian committed to the glory of God above all else would have it any other way. Indeed, such a man as John Owen, the great Puritan pastor and preacher, can even say that it is “better we should all eternally come short of forgiveness than that God should lose anything of his glory.”iii
Is that the testimony of your heart? The wonder of it is that God’s glory and his people’s good are not at odds with one another. Grace binds the two together, so that my good is secured to his glory and his glory is displayed in my good. Salvation is of the Lord, entirely and completely, and yet it is a salvation that draws out and engages all that I am and have. God’s salvation brings me from the depths of hell to the heights of heaven, and all in a display of grace that adorns the character of God, revealing the majesty of Christ, and secures the honor of the eternal and triune Name.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24–25 NKJV)
This puts a song in the heart and on the lips of the saints through time and to all eternity:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.” (Revelation 7:9–12 NKJV)
This has been the final installment in our 16-part series drawn from Anchored in Grace: Fixed Points for Humble Faith, by Jeremy Walker.
Already this book has been translated into Farsi by The Gospel Coalition for free online distribution in Iran, and purchased in significant quantities by various churches and ministries. Like all our titles on this website, price discounts of up to 20% kick in automatically when multiple copies are purchased.
Jeremy Walker serves as a pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley, England, and is married to Alissa, with whom he enjoys the blessing of three children. He has written several books and has blogged at Reformation21 and The Wanderer.
[i] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 6 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 403.