John 6:66-69 “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’”
Are you a person who at one time claimed to be a Christian, but once you started down that path, you had second thoughts, and then you turned back? You went back to what you once were because you found that the cost of following Jesus was too great. Maybe it was the ridicule of family and friends. Maybe it was some difficulty that came into your life and because things didn’t turn out like you thought they should, you turned your back on God. Maybe you found the cost to be too great in terms of what you had to give up – the lifestyle, the pleasures, or some other thing. What a sad situation to be in, for if you did turn back, what did you turn back to? What hope is there now for you, for you have forfeited eternity for the pleasures of this life, a life that, before you know it, like a vapor, will be gone?
But maybe this doesn’t describe you. You made a vow to leave your sin and turn to Christ. You gave your whole life to Him. But now, you find yourself in a situation where you are tempted to turn back. Things aren’t turning out for you like you had hoped, and you’re doubting everything you once believed. You are on the verge of giving up. You are finding that you’re not up to the sacrifices that are part and parcel of the Christian life. You’re tempted to go the way of the rich young ruler in Luke 18 who, although he came to Jesus to seek eternal life, turned away sorrowing when he considered what it would cost him. Maybe you’re being tempted to have the mindset of Judas, who Jesus made allusion to right after the words in the Scripture above, who was still with Jesus at that moment, but had already determined that he would not stay.
Well, if you are thinking about turning around, if you are thinking that this life is not for you, before you turn your back thinking the cost is too high, please consider the cost of turning back. It is such a costly thing that you will regret for all eternity. As Peter replied when Jesus asked “Do you want to go away as well?” – “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” This is a verse you should memorize. This is a message you should quote to the devil whenever you are tempted to turn away from following Christ to something else. Surely, to whom shall you go? What is the alternative to following Jesus? What better hope do you have? What would be the point of turning away, for whatever short-term gain you might be considering, in the process you are forfeiting eternal life?
The response of every true believer when tempted to turn back should be, and I believe ultimately will be, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It’s called the perseverance of the saints. This endurance, this resistance to turning back, is a mark of the true believer. This describes the person, described by Jesus in the parable of the sower, who produces good fruit unto the Savior because he or she will endure the temptations, the hardships, and the allurements of some other way. It’s our defense in time of trouble to ask this question: “Where else can I go, for you Lord, and only you, have the words of eternal life?!”
May God help us to endure whatever threatens to shake our faith, for surely, as God has promised “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12).” For where else can we go to receive a promise like that?!
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