John 10:9 "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. "
Acts 2:21 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.So"election" has a prerequisite: To win one must enter the contest so to speak! To enter the contest, because it is a contest, the door is open to all, but anyone who desires to be in the contest must enter into it. There is a password to enter the contest: The Lord's name! That is Jesus!
At this point you surely are skeptical. "There is no contest!" you remark. So you think not? The minute you enter the door where Jesus stands the contest commences. Jesus makes you "safe" (SHALL BE SAFE actually), but Satan steps up his attacks. He tempts and puts up obstacles. He devastates the righteous person to tear him down (read the Book of Job). Let the contest begin!
How does a Christian win the prize. Yes, there is a prize in this contest:
1 Corinthians 9:24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."Paul is generous here. It is all that "run the race" according to him, but most won't even stand by the starting gate (the door). They are those who are deceived: "Why run the race for there really is no prize!" Satan has them before they enter the door. They lose by default! Satan has most people and it's before the race even begins. In order to win the prize all are eligible. but he goes on to say "So run, that ye may obtain!" To finish the race each must run. That starts when the door is opened. We're all elected, but we all won't win the prize. Being "born again" is easy. You actually DO only one thing: have faith (in Jesus; that he is who he is and did what he did). That's the entry door and the race is on!
The race is gruesome. While you run Satan shoots fiery darts at you. These are temptations and roadblocks. They are things such as persecution, doubt, secular wisdom and the like. Those hurdles in the race are high and we often stumble. Those who keep tripping over the hurdles will never make it to the prize. Those who get up and let the Holy Spirit lift them up and over them make it to the prize! You see, they don't need to run on their own. The word will be their weapon and faith their shield!
Those most likely to win the prize are protected by God's whole armor. Those who fail to put on that armor run on their own and lose sight of the prize and give up. They concede, "The prize is not worth the run," and those whose faith is spent never obtain the prize. That prize is not now. It's later for the runner SHALL be saved! Belief is entering the door to the race. Faith is a constant to win the prize. It's work to keep the faith strong because Satan robs your faith if you're not careful!
Matthew 24:13 "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.""Shall be" is when the race is over. That's when you get the prize! Those who endure the race all get a prize. The "endurance" part is keeping the faith! In spite of the "thorns in his side" (Satan's barbs) Paul "kept the faith":
2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith..."The race being run is likened by Paul this time to "a fight" because while one is running the race there is a battle going on! The fight is with principalities, powers and rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). Yes, even those running the race fight the fight! Runners are the elect! They are those who of their own volition are elected by God to run by entering the door of salvation.
Even the elect can be fooled! They can lose the battle if they don't run on solid ground!
Mark 13:22 (ESV) "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect."The casual reader would look at this passage and say "Well, it's not possible to lead astray the elect!" It certainly is possible. It doesn't say that it is IMPOSSIBLE. The possibility is that even the elect can be lead astray. If you're a Christian, you are the "elect" and you can be led astray! If that was not possible Satan's task would be futile. When that open door is entered, it's by choice. God does not force an entry. That free choice doesn't end when one enters the door. It's always there in the race. "Reason" is one of the obstacles and doubt is a weapon of the war!
There are those who always there endeavoring to deceive you. The M.O. is to get you to stand under the Tree of Knowledge over the Tree of Life. The former is the knowledge of the world and the latter is the word of God. Those trees are "schools of thoughts", one is philosophy, the other spiritual. The deception comes in to getting the elect to chose the secular over the spiritual. Once we, for example, are deceived by the theory of evolution, the first act God claimed is deemed a lie. Thereafter, the deceived person comes to doubt anything God says or does. Even Jesus' Resurrection may come into doubt!
In vogue now is even the deity of God. Many deceived people accept the lie that all gods are the same; that all are God. You believe the lie. You lose the race and never shall get the prize. You, the elect, have been descived into trading eternal life (the prize) for a lie!
Yes, even the "elect" need to tread softly while running the race. You are being barraged by continual lies. Step carefully because the quicksand is there. Don't slip into the sinking sand!