“In the case of the athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules” (2 Tim. 2:5)
Greatness requires hard work and dedication, and, unfortunately, sometimes people opt for a shortcut.
There are some rules that may have exceptions, but there are others that absolutely do not.
When Lance Armstrong was found to have violated cycling’s anti-doping policy, he was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles.
Pete Rose was an excellent baseball player and coach, but he violated the rules when he gambled on his games. For that, his name is synonomous with fraud.
The rules may be argued, but they must be upheld.
When the rules are not followed, the whole game is tainted, and everybody suffers: the cheating champ has his title stripped, while their opponent loses the opportunity they had to potentially win on their own merit.
It is as if everyone involved has wasted their time, because you can’t simply go back and make it right. It’s over.
Your life, however, is not over; nor is your fate sealed.
Those who are lost can be found.
But can those who are found end up lost?
Let us review the rules of the game:
“Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know the Father also’.” (John 14:6-7)
“Jesus said, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who believes in me will never die’.” (John 11:25-26)
“Those who believe in [Jesus] are not condemned; but those who do not believe in Him are condemned.” (John 3:18)
Many people purport “once saved, always saved” – the belief that once you confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, you’re good – done deal, no matter what else you do.
I believe that, while no one can take away your salvation, you can give it away.
You simply fall out of faith, or “give up” on God.
Heaven is a place of an eternal presence with God. Why would anyone who curses God now (even though they believed before) expect to spend an eternity with Him? Why would they want to if they hate Him so much?
In either case, the rules seem quite clear: Jesus is the only way to heaven, belief in Him is paramount, and a lack of belief is condemnatory.
If you choose to believe – and keep believing – then you will be saved.
It’s as simple as that.