Do you know that God’s grace to us is conditional? – And not just on his sacrificial death on a cross for our sins, and not on us praying a prayer to receive Christ, and not on us professing faith in him, but it is conditional on us actually living the faith that we profess, in his power and strength.
Let’s look at Jesus’ own words:
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.’” Luke 9:23-26 ESV
So, what’s this saying? If we want to believe in Jesus Christ and to become one of his followers, we must humble ourselves before Almighty God. We must deny self (surrender our self-life to Christ), daily die with Christ in death to sin, and follow him in obedience to his commands.
This is not saying that we must live in absolute perfection or else (1 Jn 2:1-2), but that we must now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit and no longer according to our flesh. For, if we live according to the flesh (in sinful practices), we will die in our sins.
It is also saying that to be a Christ follower we must give up our former way of living for sin and self, for if we keep on living in sin, making sin our practice (habitually and deliberately), that we will lose our lives for eternity. We will not inherit eternal life with God.
For, to hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self is to deny Jesus Christ and what he did for us on that cross. For, he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died to free us from our slavery to sin so that we would be slaves to his righteousness.
So, to go on living in sin, and by doing so, one refuses Christ and his salvation from bondage to sin, it means that when Jesus Christ returns to take with him his followers, he will deny those who deny him on this earth. And to deny Christ is not verbal only, but we can deny him by our actions.
[See: Jn 6:35-58; Jn 10:27; 2 Co 5:15, 10, 21; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; Col 1:21-23; Tit 2:11-14; 2 Tim 2:10-13]