The title of this video might surprise you if you know what we believe here at I’ll Be Honest. We believe that what we see in Romans 8, 29 and 30, is true – every single person who is foreknown by God is predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, and every single person who is so predestined – the elect, as Scripture refers them – will be called and every single person who is called will be justified and every single person who is justified will be glorified. We believe that those who are in the hands of the Father and the Son are secure eternally. We believe that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will not lose any of the sheep given to Him by the Father.
Then why this title? Believers who will be cast into Hell? It’s because Scripture says there will be believers cast into Hell. Really? Yes. How? That’s what I’ll explain now.
We have to use the language of Scripture even when it may not fit our preconceived notions and our doctrinal assumptions. Is a man justified by faith and by faith alone, apart from any works? Absolutely. Does the Scripture say that every single person who believes will enter into eternal life and become a part of the New Jerusalem? No. There are believers who will, and believers who won’t. It’s like the language we see in Romans 9. The Bible tells us in chapter 9, that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” You have Israel…and Israel. Romans also tells us there are two types of Jews: those who flesh is circumcised and those who hearts are circumcised. So it is with believers. You have believers who have eternal life…and believers who don’t.
Two passages in John’s gospel illustrate this. The last three verses of chapter 2 tell of many who believed in the name of Christ – and it also tells us that Christ did not believe that they believed because He knew what was in man. If we move ahead to John 8, starting in verse 31 we read of Jews who believed in Christ, but by verse 44 Jesus is telling them that they are of their father the devil and they then want to kill Jesus by verse 59. Some try to preserve a certain doctrine of eternal security by saying that the men of verse 44 are not the same men of verse 31, but the passage gives absolutely no hint of that. So you see, you have believers…and believers….and those are the words of Scripture. We have to go back to Romans 8 – every single person who is justified – justified by faith (Romans 5:1) – will be glorified…but the Bible says not every person who believes is justified and we have John 2 and John 8 as clear examples of that.
The Bible talks about people who believe for a while, then walk away, and also about those who are said to believe but who are not truly saved. The parable of the seeds in Matthew 13 is one example. One group receives the word with joy but falls away when persecution comes. Another group receives the word but the cares of the world and deceitfulness of riches choke it out and they walk away. We would look at both groups and call them believers before they walk away. We see other examples. Paul cited Demas as a ministry partner of his in Colossians and Philemon, but in 2 Timothy 4 Demas is said to have fallen in love with the world and deserted Paul.
What’s the lesson here? Which kind of believer are you? How do you know? Here’s how: have you not just believed, but have you turned away from your sin? Have you stopped following the course of this world, as Ephesians 2 describes it, in following the prince of the power of the air? Have you turned away from that and are you following Jesus? Have you repented – have you changed your mind and had that change of mind result in a change of course? Far too many “believe” in order to avoid going to hell, but they have not repented by turning away from following the devil. That’s why Jesus can say to the men in Matthew 7 that they are workers of iniquity, even as they call Jesus, “Lord, Lord.”
I’m not saying you must clean up your life before coming to Christ because no one can do that. That’s salvation by works. But repenting and believing are to occur all at once – turning and believing. Following Christ. And keeping on in following Christ, doing what He says for the remainder of your life, even when things get hard. Jesus says, “He who endures to the end will be saved.” And it’s ONLY those who endure to the end who will be saved.
[This is a condensed version of a full-length sermon.]