To those who responded to my question:
Thank you, Josua. You offer much ‘food for thought’.
To Michael Colunga: Thank you for the kind words and your other posts which expended my understanding.
To Berry Amundsen: Thank you for your insight.
Your post generated further questions, especially about hope and salvation.
In answer to “what constitutes a true believer”, it must be that he is “the one who is saved”. Can a saved person be not a true believer or a true believer not be saved? Therefore, can we safely assume that the one who is saved is the one given to Christ whom no man can pluck out of His hand? If so, then the real question is, ”who is saved?”. Well, we have the formula: say this prayer, walk down this aisle, invite, really believe…etc.
But, how many of us may have been caught up in the emotion of the moment: we really, really believed right then, right now? Were we saved? God only knows for sure. How many of us so-called Christians take up our old habits after we leave the church, the auditorium, or switch channels? – Until the next time. We are to follow Christ; to do His commandments – how many of us so-called Christians even know them?
There are the so-called Christians who think they are saved ….because they bought the insurance policy, they do good works, and they shine within their own circles and…. in their own eyes. Their motivations are not to glorify God. Their hope is in their own self-worth. I believe the ones who ‘go back into perdition’ are from this group as are many whom the Lord will still save.
Then, there are those who have HOPE in their eternal salvation - not because they lack a sufficient trust in Christ and must take a journey toward salvation, but, in my opinion, because they monitor their hearts and their motivations. Do we, at times, fear that we may not be ‘good enough’ instead of relying on Christ’s finished work? So, they search the Scriptures to allay their human doubts and their faith grows while they occupy, wait, and watch.
I question my motivations because I know that my understanding is limited; that I can easily delude myself. Yet, I have HOPE that my eternal salvation is assured. So, the battling of doubts and the hope and the growing in faith continue. But, then I remember to Whom I belong and am comforted in knowing He will not lose me and that I will be kept from His wrath.
As for Choose you this day whom you will serve (is God demanding a pragmatic decision?): God knew our choice from the beginning. Once given to Christ, we will not be lost - And if not lost, than saved, and if saved, than raptured.
Finally, a long time ago, a priest told me “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Cognizant of that, I most certainly appreciate your insights. Thank you.