The mystery of the gospel: it promises effortless eternal safety, calling us to rest in Messiah knowing God will never charge anyone in Him with sin (Ro 4:6-8), yet it identifies all who willfully persist in breaking God’s Law as enemies (Ro 8:6-7) outside of His kingdom. (1Co 6:9-10) How can this be?
At the core of the gospel is a supernatural surgery — a heart transplant: YHWH replacing a dead, stony heart with one from another dimension that’s inclined to love and obey Him (Ez 36:26), and writing His laws into a renewed mind. (He 8:10) God is transforming sinners into God-ward, obedient saints (Ep 2:10), intermingling divine life with organic life. This is infinity engaging with and energizing the finite, each converted soul a unique incarnation of omnipotence, a spiritual conception and birth (Jn 3:6-7), a new kind of creation (2Co 5:17); it’s both a resurrection and an ascension into Heaven (Ep 2:4-6); it’s Christ in us, our hope of eternal glory. (Col 1:27)
We acquire this life by earnestly seeking it (Mt 7:7), pursuing YHWH until He gives us faith, supernatural confidence in His Son, and we enter into His rest. (He 4:11) It’s a work that God both initiates and completes in us (Php 1:6), imputing perfect righteousness to us (Ro 4:22-5) and grounding us in assurance of eternal life (1Jn 5:13); it’s a state that cannot be forfeited or lost.
Those who claim eternal life apart from a posture of submission and obedience to God are liars (1Jn 2:4); those who depend in any fashion on their obedience to deserve or keep this life have never tasted its transforming power (Ga 3:10), or grasped the basics of their own depravity. (Je 17:9) Those who doubt their eternal safety (1Th 1:4-5), the fearful and unbelieving (Re 21:8) … are alienated from the life of God. (Ep 4:18) The redeemed worship God in Spirit and in truth, rejoice Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in their own goodness. (Php 3:3)