Eternal life is a gift received by faith alone as declared in Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”. - Eph 2:8-9 (KJV)
Jesus secured our eternal life by his death on the cross.
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished’: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” - John 19:30 (KJV)
This act of Jesus is what justifies those who believe in him. However, we are instructed that action on our part is necessary to “inherit.” The first generation of the Israelite s came out of Egypt into the wilderness and never “inherited” all that God had prepared for them because of disobedience.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they”. - Num 14:11-12 (KJV)
This generation of people were forgiven and saved. Moses prays for them,
“Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it”: - Num 14:19-23 (KJV)
Today, we run the same risk of losing our inheritance, which consists of a “crown,”
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” - Rev 3:11-12 (KJV)
We could lose a wedding gown, i.e. “fine linen.”
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” - Rev 19:7-8 (KJV
“His wife hath made herself ready” has to do with what we have done with the gift of “eternal life” we have been given since we have received the Holy Spirit to overcome all our weaknesses if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
We could lose the “kingdom of God”
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” - Gal 5:18-21 (KJV)
We must not think that “the kingdom of God” is the same as “eternal life” because one is a gift received by faith and the other is obtained by faithful obedience empowered by the Holy Spirit as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
This is the reason we “run the race”
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” - 1 Cor 9:24-27 (KJV)
The reason we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” is because we don’t want to end up like the Israelite s who were saved out of Egypt by God’s mighty deeds and were “disinherited” because they didn’t “fix their eyes” on God and believe him to bring them into the promise land.
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” - Heb 2:1-4 (KJV)
If we “neglect” the work of God in our lives, we will jeopardize our inheritance. This doesn’t mean we will be perfectly sinless, but we will turn away from sinful patterns in our lives and grow in grace and overcome by keeping our eyes “fixed on Jesus.”
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” - 2 Cor 5:10 (KJV)
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” - 1 Cor 3:11-15 (KJV)
Your “eternal life” is secure in the finished work of Christ, now run for the prize of your “inheritance”
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Heb 12:2 (KJV)
May God help us all to run the race that we may see more of his glory in our land.
God bless, Orval