“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Hebrews 10:39).
IF WE DECIDE TO FOLLOW CHRIST, WE WILL MOVE IN A FORWARD DIRECTION AS LONG AS WE FOLLOW HIM. But having decided to follow Him, we must never change our minds and revert to going backward, the way we used to live. As the writer of Hebrews put it, we must not be among those who “shrink back and are destroyed.”
Whether we ever turn back or not, one thing is certain: we will be tempted to do so. It is nothing but naive to think the Christian will never be discouraged or have second thoughts. Our enemy, the devil, will do all he can to get us back. And make no mistake, if we do return to his bondage, we will once again be in a lost condition, just as Peter wrote, “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:20).
Surrounded by difficulties and distractions every day, there is little chance we’ll hold out if we haven’t made a commitment to hold out. Becoming a Christian is more than a mood or a whim — it comes from (1) a sober assessment of the evidence, and (2) a commitment to take a stand that is lifelong and binding. Looking at it more personally, obeying the gospel involves a commitment of love for Christ Himself. Since we love Him, we will never betray Him. He can count on the faithfulness and obedience of our love.
Such a great commitment is more than a one-time act. As our lives unfold, we will find it needful to get a fresh grip on our commitment from time to time, meditating and reminding ourselves of the evidence that our decision rests upon and vowing anew that we will never be a traitor to our Lord. Every Lord’s Day, we will make new promises of faithfulness to Him when the church gathers and we remember His death in the Lord’s Supper.
So the Christian life is a long sequence of stronger and stronger commitments. But it all begins very simply. Whether we say it out loud or not, at baptism our hearts are entering into this pledge: From this day forward, I will follow Jesus faithfully, so help me God.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
No turning back, no turning back.
(Old Gospel Song)