CLAIM: Jesus said, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Mt. 24:13). Does this mean that perseverance is necessary for salvation?
RESPONSE: It’s possible that this is what Jesus is teaching. Under this view, Jesus could be saying that believers need to persevere in the Tribulation, and that a true believer will always persevere (i.e. perseverance of the saints). However, there is another way of understanding this passage: Jesus is promising physical protection when he returns at his Second Coming.
In Luke’s account, Jesus states, “Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Lk. 21:18-19). Clearly, this refers to physical protection—not spiritual salvation. If people survive the great and terrible Tribulation, Jesus will return and literally save them. Thus, Jesus is referring to “the end” of the Tribulation, and they will be “saved” from death. We favor this reading because it fits well with the context.