1 Thessalonians 5:8 (KJV) "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."The event that Christians await is salvation (KJV)., implying that Christians will be saved sometimes in the future. In all fairness, we need to look at the Greek for salvation as well. It is soteria, meaning to rescue. This word is a little different than we find in this verse:
Matthew 24:13 "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."The KJV saved is sozo in the Greek., which means safe. There is a difference between saved and safe. The latter means not in danger. The former means delivered, and in that sense rescued. With the true definition of soteria, then it is seen that Christians have the hope of being rescued. They have yet to be rescued, but because they trust God (faith), their hope is that they shall be. Matthew 24:13 establishes the criteria for soteria (rescued): He that endureth to the end. Enduring is staying true to the end.
The vehicle for staying true is faith (back to 1 Thessalonians 5:8): trusting in, and loyalty to God.
Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved (sozo, safe) through faith (pistes, persuasion); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."A person who is brought to safety is persuaded, and have had their opinion changed, but Satan endeavors to unpersuaded (sic) by raising doubt. With scripture, persuading is leaving deception or apathy, and arriving at truth, and of course that means trusting the gospels about Jesus Christ.
The phrase shall be (Matthew 24:13) is not even in the Greek. It is an English transliteration, and the KJV sometimes renders it should be (John 3:16). Should raises doubt because it leaves open the possibility that the person won't be. Should is past tense. Shall is firm. It means that it will occur. It is future tense. Most places sozo is rendered shall be safe, meaning at sometime in the future. The future is anytime between this moment until the time when the soul is removed to paradise.
That is important: What we call saved is brought to safety. That's when God makes us righteous and puts a protective hedge around us (Job 1:10), called the whole armor of God:
Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil... 13 ...that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day."In essence, what we call salvation is God protecting us from being destroyed by Satan, but just as Job was tested, we too are tested. Testing allows the Christian to remain in the faith (endure) or blaspheme (cease being faithful to God).
Faith is a gift from God, and we Christians exercise it. Scripture refers to the work of faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Indeed, maintaining faith is hard work because Satan and his legions go to and fro trying to destroy it. God protects us from Satan's wiles by using his sword (word) and armor. The Christian who fails to wear God's armor is in danger of Satan's barbs killing their faith.
The hope of salvation does raise some concerns about doubt because it is anticipating a future event which has yet to happen. The faith of God is certainty. Because he is God, he knows the future. Faith is for us a variable: (1) No faith, (2) a little faith, (3) great faith, and (4) the faith of Abraham - as much as humanly possible. Anything less than the faith of God is doubt. We all have doubts at time. To deny that is deception. We must always be in the word to keep doubt out of our minds. Doubt is one of Satan's barbs.
Some are certain of their faith, or so they say. We do have assurance.
Hebrews 10:26 (ESV) "For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries."If one remains in a life of sin (go on sinning), after knowing the truth (about Jesus), judgment and hell awaits them. With that said obedience to the faith is the test of efficacy. Christians are to remain steadfast in the faith (1 Peter 5:9).
Some ask, "Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are saved?" That question makes one doubt, whereas before it wasn't on the mind. We all have doubts; that is imperfect faith. Satan raises doubts; God doesn't. Claiming to be certain, which only God can be, is prideful. It is making oneself out to be as God (Genesis 3:5). We must be wary of Satan and keep our armor shiny, polished, and in use! We anticipate that we will in the end be saved, but until then we walk in safety because we exercise our gift of faith.
This is my belief from scripture. I am dogmatic in my belief. This is called conditional security. Because I'm not God, I am convinced that I understand doctrine. Others are just as convinced of their position. However, I do not have the ability to declare mine to be divine truth, because to claim that I would be prideful. Likewise, for those in the eternal security camp, and are just as dogmatic, if they declare their truth to be profound, then they have pride in their doctrine.
These two doctrines are opposite, and are in direct conflict. One must be right and the other wrong. I won't put God in an Arminian box, and my desire is that others will take God out of his Calvinistic box. What I am saying, God is God. He can do as he pleases on an individual basis to suit his purposes. It would seem that Paul's conversion was a model for Calvinism, but Simon Magus's conversion and blasphemy was a model for Arminianism.
We can all get along, if we're Christians. In Paul's time there were even then doctrinal differences. He asked for unity. I will be in accord with my fellow brethren without regard to disputes. After all, who am I - God, to declare his every intent? I won't be that prideful because pride kills.