I have previously written about my company’s three month probation period for all new employees when initially hired (see blog in Word Press). If they successfully pass this probation period, they are given a raise, an official nameplate for their desk, and a welcoming ceremony. The vast majority of the employees who have passed this probation have remained with the company for many years and have thrived in their positions. However, some employees interpreted their new status as a tenured position, relatively immune from being fired.
One former employee was exemplary in his performance during the probation period. However, immediately after he was promoted, he blurted to his supervisor, “Now I don’t have to work as hard!” On cue, his behavior began to change. He complained about his workload, his error rate increased, and his treatment of his co-workers degenerated. Finally, he flagrantly violated two company policies, leading to his immediate dismissal. He learned that passing probation was not a license for bad behavior. He was not a sincere employee, but simply going through the motions to get through the probation period. Once he did, his true nature emerged.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (ESV)
When we sin, we may express grief, but there may be no change in behavior, only regret and frustration. This is worldly grief. Godly grief, one that honestly seeks forgiveness from God, by acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, leads to true repentance and salvation. We cannot obtain salvation by going through the motions and uttering pious statements.
What about a deathbed conversion? There would be no time to show evidence of changed behavior. How would one know if the repentance is genuine? For these deathbed conversions and confessions, only God knows whether anyone’s conversion is true, but all salvation in Jesus Christ is eternal. The great Protestant reformer John Calvin wrote, “Faith alone saves but the faith that saves is not alone.” Salvation is always accompanied by a genuine change of heart and direction of one’s life. It may occur in the last seconds of one’s life or it may be manifest over many years. However, if this does not happen, the confession that is uttered is hollow and empty, void of any faith and commitment. Our true nature and intentions will be evident and revealed.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.