I found out this week that one of my older sisters died of cancer in January. We were not very close throughout my life but I still feel a loss. I am not sure that I have sorted it all out yet but some things still come through loud and clear.
Even though we were not close we did write to one another once or twice a year. In our correspondence I was very clear of where I stood with Jesus and I tried to test the waters as to where she stood. Several times she stated that she believed in Jesus and that her eternity was secure. I do not know for sure what her heart was like and I am certainly not the judge. This whole thing sent me into a little tail spin though.
Let me explain. My sister was an alcoholic. About a year and a half ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. That did not stop her drinking though. She would call one of my other sisters while inebriated and want to talk. There was also evidence of cirrhosis of the liver in her death. She did not make it know that the cancer had returned.
The issue (in my mind at least) is this, can someone mouth the words that they are saved and still not be? Can the same be true in the opposite? Can someone say that they do not think they are saved and they are? My sister said that she was saved but I am left with the question, “Was she?”
I know both sides of the answer from the Scriptures. I know that our salvation is not based on our actions. I know that nothing that we can do will add to or subtract from what constitutes our being saved. On the other hand, there should be fruit produced in a life that is saved. A life that the Holy Spirit breathes new life into will be different. The alcoholic that gets new life from God will become different. Won’t it…or will it…or does it even matter?
I think that it does for my sister. The Bible says, "it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27) So, my sister has faced judgment already. How did that turn out? I can’t answer that. I can only be accountable for me. While I have the next breath inside of me I want to make sure that everything I do pleases my Creator. This way, when I step into the next life and walk up to my father, there will be nothing that I will be ashamed of.
If you are not sure about your eternity, I would consider the following. Jesus is God in the fresh (2 peter 1:21, John 1:14). All men have sinned in some way, including you (Romans 3:23). While we were still living that life of sin, Jesus died for our sins (Romans 5: 8 ) . If we confess with our mouths that Jesus is our Lord and believe that He rose from the dead we are saved (Romans 10:9-10).
It is that simple. It is also that perplexing.