Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. (Jonah 3:10, NKJV)
The Protestant Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church fell far short of restoring New Testament Christianity. One such area was its failure to return to the Scriptural (and thus, essential) place of obedience to God to be saved “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Obedience is an “unprofitable” servant’s faith at work (Luke 17:10). Protestantism opted to demonize every kind of work while codifying salvation by faith only, even though Scripture says, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). And, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Nineveh’s salvation from God’s imminent destruction well illustrates the part that a working faith plays in salvation. Why would God consider Nineveh’s “works” at all, if works have nothing to do with God’s gift of salvation (Jonah 3:7-9, 10)? Jesus endorsed their works as proof that “they repented” (Luke 11:32). Even so, we do not earn salvation when we obey God’s command to repent (Acts 17:30). But, without obeying God and repenting of sins, we will not receive His grace that saves our soul. Repentance is a work of faith, a condition we must meet to be saved (Acts 3:19). God has given commands we must obey as conditions to be saved “by grace through faith.” Unless we obey them, we do not trust God. All we have is a dead faith.
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24–25, NASB95)
Since God is able to “keep” (preserve) you stumbling, the possibility of stumbling necessarily exists (cf. Gal. 5:7). He will stand you blameless before Him, when you build up yourselves in the faith, pray in the Spirit, and keep (preserve) yourselves in the love of God (Jude 20-21). Eternal life, while provided by the power and authority of “the only God our Savior,” is not unconditional. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16); Belief and baptism are conditions that one must meet in order to be saved. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:10-11). Note the word “if” – “if you do these things…” That’s a condition the Christian must meet in order to have confidence of gaining entrance into the eternal kingdom. God has the “dominion and authority” to save you. He calls on you to be loyal to Him by remaining steadfast and faithful.
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:45–46, NKJV)
Will you judge yourself unworthy of everlasting life? According to the apostle Paul, that depends on your response to the gospel of Jesus Christ that he preached. In the absolute sense of sinless perfection, none of us are worthy (fit) of eternal life, since we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, 9-10). The wages of sin is death, but God’s gift is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). In today’s verse, Paul specifically says when people reject the gospel they judge themselves unfit for eternal life. While eternal life is God’s gift, it is not without conditions (Matt. 7:21). To oppose the gospel and to contradict its conditions of salvation is to render a damning judgment against oneself. (The gospel conditions of salvation are to believe, repent, confess faith and be baptized, Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38.) How do you judge yourself in this matter? That depends on whether you accept or reject the apostolic gospel.