But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
It is evident that our Lord was speaking with especial reference to the series of calamities that was to accompany the death throes of the Jewish state. In them are typified and illustrated the trials which test the fidelity of the Christian in many walks of life.
I. WE ARE WARNED TO EXPECT HEAVY TRIALS. No woes can]lave been greater than the troubles of that tragedy of history, the fall of Jerusalem. But Job justly tells us that "man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). It is foolish to anticipate calamity, for "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof;" but it is equally foolish to deny its possibility, or to be astounded and amazed when we have our share of what, after all, is just the common lot of mankind. Most assuredly the feeble faith that will be swamped in the first gale of adversity is not fit to be launched on the uncertain seas of life.
II. THESE TRIALS WILL REQUIRE THE GRACE OF CONTINUOUS ENDURANCE. It might be possible to muster courage for the encounter with one huge calamity in a rare crisis of life. The exceptional necessity would call out exceptional energy, and the very excitement of the novel situation would help to brace the spirit of heroism. But in many lives the trial of faith is long and tedious. There is not one brief and brilliant hour of martyrdom, but there are years of repeated difficulties and renewed troubles. To face such experiences a gift of patience and stubborn endurance is requisite. For most of us this is needed, because in some form the whole of life is a course of discipline, although it is not the purgatory pessimists paint it.
III. THE ENDURANCE OF ADVERSITY AND TEMPTATION IS NOT INDEPENDENT OF OUR OWN EFFORTS. It is not solely dependent on those efforts. Nobody can stand firm in his own strength alone. If we are enabled to be faithful, this is because God is with us, our Strength and our Stay. There is no possibility of continuous endurance excepting through his presence and help. The trials are certainly too severe for unaided human strength. But this is not all. It is but one side of the situation. The Divine grace is given to those who seek it; it is given according to the measure of faith; and it is given to inspire and energize our efforts, not to supersede them. We must strive, or we shall fail.
IV. A GREAT DELIVERANCE WILL CROWN THE ENDURANCE THAT IS PERSEVERED IN TO THE END.
1. There will be an end.
"Now we fight the baffle." But the battle will not last forever. Patience and courage! The affliction is but brief. It is foolish to risk all rather than stand out its short time.
2. It is necessary to endure to the end. The ship that has weathered many a storm on her long voyage must be prepared to face the last tempest, or she will perish in sight of her haven. It is not enough that we were victorious in bygone days. The fidelity of youth will not excuse the failure of later years. The battle is not over till it is won, and the battle of life is not won till life is finished.
3. Then will be the final victory. Faithful, persistent endurance will issue in the end of the trial and in the salvation of the sufferers. Salvation is perfect and secure for those who are "faithful unto death." - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.