Can You Lose Your Salvation
First I would like to ask a question. Why would Jesus say “Depart from me, I never knew you”? Look below.
Here is the menu for the items in this long file of explanations. At any point you may return to the top by clicking on “Return to Top”, which will bring you right back here to this menu. Copy starts below menu which begins with a admonition from Jesus about those “false Christians” who will be surprised when they stand before Him on Judgment Day.
What does “Believe in Him” mean?
Scriptures showing the Act of believing in Jesus is associated with salvation
Those truly saved Will not lose their salvation
Do you believe?
Can you sin your whole life and receive salvation?
Living in Holiness
Should we trust our feelings?
What do the Greeks words for salvation mean?
About the Corinthians
Teaching the doctrine of losing one’s salvation is a sin.
Mockery of the new birth
When people abandoned the church or teaching of the apostles, these scriptures indicate they were never saved in the first place
To put things in perspective, this describes the nature of the “new creature”
The following 6 categories contain scripture sounding like you can lose your salvation
Those not saved in first place
A confusing scripture
Loss of Reward
Facing Physical Judgment and Death
Anointing of the Holy Spirit
Are we to do good only to other Christians and forget our neighbors
Assembling Ourselves Together
Assurance of our Salvation…and a test to determine if you’re obedient to Christ
Can we live as we want after salvation?
Failure of Faith
Foreknowledge or Predestination
Inerrant Word of God
Joy of salvation
No one comes to Jesus unless the Father sends them
Old Testament Scripture Telling of the Coming of Christ
Saved by Grace
Sealing of the Holy Spirit
Sin separates us from God
Temptation isn’t from God
The observance of the Sabbath
Why doesn’t God answer some people’s prayers?
Before I start on salvation, here is a few scriptures that Jesus gives us in The Sermon on the Mount I would like you to look at.
Jesus Said: Depart From Me – Why did He say that?
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Those scriptures struck me deep in my heart when I read them. For over 40 years I thought I was a Christian, but then discovered I wasn’t. I was not doing the will of God, but I was living in the world as I sat in a pew singing and praising God on Sunday. It was all a sham, but I didn’t realize it. Satan had me exactly where he wanted me, sitting in a church pew complete ignorant and undone. In the scriptures above, who was Jesus talking to? It was to those who think or say they are Christians, that’s who. Those “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:5)
In other words, pews are filled with those who practice “religion” only on Sundays but when they leave church, revert back to their old ways of living, the ways of the world. Are you faithfully reading your bible daily to see what is expected of you? If so, do you pray daily that the Holy Spirit will give you guidance and understanding? If not, how do you think you’re going to know what is expected of you and how you are to conduct yourself so as to be the light of the world? Many don’t care, they simply think that going to church on Sunday is enough. But is it? Worship isn’t done in the church, it’s done in the mission field. That’s starts outside the door of the church when you go back into the world. That’s where the true worship begins, in doing the Will of God and by being a witness to the worldly.
What do these following scriptures spoken by Jesus mean to you? Think about it carefully before reading this section on Salvation and as you read each of these scriptures, pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you into understanding each one.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. (Do you know what Jesus’ commandments are, and they are not the 10 commandments only)
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (Do you know where to find these commandments?)
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (Commandments / Words, these are the same)
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. (Do you see a common theme here which is a requirement of all Christians?)
What each Christian is expected to do is to read God’s Word, daily. That’s how we grow in Christ. Hosea 4:6 tell us: “My people perish from a lack of knowledge.” Don’t be one of those people.
Salvation – What really is the truth? Once saved, always saved. Or for those who are “convinced” they can lose their salvation and can never regain it again once it is lost, is that really true? Many are mislead by a verse in Hebrews that states:
Heb. 6 verses 4-6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you determine the real meaning of the scriptures that are included here, that He may make manifest the truth to you as you study this.
The following is supporting scripture for the question of Eternal Security
The word “security” emphasizes the status of our forgiveness, whereby “perseverance” also includes the idea of persistent growth in Godliness.
Those who are against the “once saved, always saved” thinking tend to base their arguments on the following:
The fear that it will lead un-repentant, persistent sinners thinking that they are Christians because of a one time religious experience. They see this as being dangerous because it could seem to imply that a person could make a one time commitment, perhaps as a child, then live a life of sin, rebellion and unbelief, then go to heaven. What incentive is there to pursue obedience if our salvation does not depend on it they ask?
They have a misunderstanding of how God works through us to keep us in the faith. The Bible gives us every reason to believe that those who live like described above were never saved in the first place and whatever profession of faith the sinner made was not genuine. (Read: “Can we live as we want after salvation?”)
To often teachers of eternal security have often left themselves open to their opponents’ fear. Many evangelists make too little mention of repentance and give the impression that people are eternally saved simply by praying the “sinner’s prayer”. Not that they may not be saved, but if they are, one will begin to notice changes in these newly born again Christians which will make their profession of faith quite evident. With the conversion will bring many changes in a person’s life which is shown in Ephesians and we will discuss in detail later.
Eph. 4:22-24: That ye put off concerning the former conversation (meaning conduct) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
“Put off the old man” to renounce pre-conversion life and sins; and “be renewed in your mind, to be constantly changed, being brought more and more in line with God’s own viewpoint; and “put on the new man, that is, to assume a new nature (character) and conduct (life) at conversion.
The causalities in this battle over whether or not you can lose your salvation are twofold. First, millions of Christians cannot live with joy and confidence, because they do not have the assurance that they will go to heaven when they die. They live in fear that they might fall into sin and lose their salvation. They don’t feel that God is near to them. (Read: “Joy of Salvation”)
Second, there are also millions who made a “decision for Christ” but have never moved away from their life of sin. Even so, they have been told that they had been forgiven. (Read: “Assurance.”)
I believe the Bible is very clear that salvation is both permanent and unconditional. This is the doctrine of eternal security or the perseverance of the saints. Those who profess Christ should be aware of exactly what transpires with believers after they give their life to Jesus Christ. This article should help clarify that process.
The Word of God (Bible) tells us the act of believing in Jesus (involving both faith and repentance) is associated with the moment of salvation, and those who believe are forgiven of their sins and will be saved. We’ll start with some of those scriptures. Note the bold areas for reference:
Scriptures showing the act of believing in Jesus is associated with salvation and those who believe are forgiven and saved.
John 3:18: “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
John 10:9: “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
Acts 2:21: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Acts 10:43: “Of him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.
Acts 16:31: “They said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Don’t be confused with this verse as it is saying that each one in the jailer’s household had to believe in order to be saved. You cannot save someone else, only yourself).
Rom 5:10: “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
Rom 10:9-10: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Eph 1:13-14: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
John 3:14-16 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
John 6:40: “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who behold the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:44: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:46-47: “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
1 John 5:10-13: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and the life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Now that we see to be saved all we have to do is to “believe in Jesus Christ” and to accept Him. But what does this mean, all I need to know is that He was God’s Son and believe that you ask? No, the demons knew Jesus was the Son of God, but they won’t be in Heaven. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as their savior, their life will change dramatically. Just as the scripture in Ephesians tells us, the old man dies and the new man is born.
The Bible promises by these scriptures that those truly saved will not lose their salvation
Rom. 8:14-17: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
The witness of the Spirit is the inner assurance of God’s truth. One of the conditions of this inner conviction concerning the things of God is obedience to His known will (John 7 v.17). God uses this ministry of the Holy Spirit to convince us of truth that cannot be understood other than through His divine help (Matt. 16 v.17). This witness was obvious in Peter’s confession to Christ (Matt. 16 v.16-17). Even though others had observed Christ and drawn certain erroneous conclusions, Peter received spiritual insight from God as to who Jesus really was (Matt. 16 v.17) This enlightenment did not mean he had nothing more to learn, because within minutes of his confession, he was being rebuked by Jesus for his lack of spiritual insight (Matt. 16:23) Christians should be careful always to obey the clearly revealed Will of God, so as not to hinder this ministry in their lives.
Rom 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Psalm 37:28: “For the Lord loves justice and does not forsake His godly ones; they are preserved forever.
John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
John 6:37: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
John 6:39-40: “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 10:27-29: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
The doctrine of eternal security teaches that God is able to complete the good work of eternal life that He has begun in every believer. (Phil. 1:6) The eternal security of the believer is guaranteed by the person and work of God. He is true and just, and cannot deny Himself. Therefore anyone who has eternal life has it forever. God promises that no one can ever be separated from His love (Romans 8:33-39). Some argue this doctrine leads to antinomianism (allowing Christians to live in sin). This charge however, denies the very nature of salvation, which involves union with Christ and death to sin (Romans chapter 6). But to the extent that a Christian fails to serve God, his reward may be lost, though he will be saved from everlasting wrath (1 Cor. 3:15). The Christian is saved and secured by faith, but in love and gratitude to Christ will seek to faithfully serve Him.
Romans 8:33-35 & 38-39: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Phil 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
2 Tim 1:12: “For I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”
Heb 6:17-20: “In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
1 Peter 1:3-5: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
In 1 Peter 1:3-5, the portrayal of salvation looks to the future. The author of salvation is portrayed as the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The work of salvation is described as to its effect. Hath begotten us again refers to a new stage of life that begins at salvation. This lively hope has no element of uncertainty, for it is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The believer’s inheritance is described as incorruptible (imperishable or indestructible) and undefiled (morally untainted). That fadeth not away means it is not subject to the ravages of time. Further it is reserved, that is, it has been preserved in the past and still is in heaven. Kept is a present passive participle, we are secure because we are continually guarded by God, who never relaxes His vigil. Salvation here refers to final salvation, that is, deliverance from the presence of sin and into the presence of God.
1 John 2:1: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
1 Cor 3:10-16: “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Notice the scripture tells us quite clearly, “he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved”. Such a one does not suffer the loss of his salvation, but the loss of reward. The stress in the entire passage is not on a person’s relationship to Christ, but on his or her service to Christ.
What does “Believe in Him” really mean?
Before listing these scriptures, let us begin by giving some background explanation as to what is meant by the term “I believe in Him“. We’ll start by looking at John 1:1 which tells us: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God”. Verse 14 tells us “and the word was made flesh and dwelt among us”. From these two scriptures we can clearly see that Christ is the Word of God.
In John 1:12 we are told “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. And Romans 10:13 tells us “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.
Note the command associated with Jesus Christ that whosoever believeth in Him, the totality of the Word of God made flesh, shall be saved. When you receive Him and believe, then through the power of the totality of the Word of God made flesh, you are made a true child of God.
The above scriptures show that “I believe in Him” means all the words spoken to mankind by our Almighty Father in heaven. Revealed by “His Word made flesh” and is called Jesus Christ, our savior.
When we say we believe in Him, it then means we believe in the totality of God’s Word made flesh. Remember denying a word spoken by God means denying our Savior Jesus Christ whom we always say that we believe in.
The meaning of the phrase “I believe in Him” means that I shall obey the totality of both the words and commandments of the laws of God. Then when we really believe, the mighty Word shall come unto us and overtake our life as long as we continue to abide and do the will of God, the Father. But if we only say “I believe in Him,” but fail to do the Word we believe, then we are not true believers and something still has to be done if we really are to be saved.
We can now see clearly that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God, and that through Him all things were created, and without Him there is no life. Believing in Him means believing in eternal life. We can summarize it this way: when we say that we believe in Jesus Christ, we are saying that we believe in the totality of the Word of God. If we really believe in the Word of God, “Jesus Christ”, we should demonstrate this by keeping the whole commandments of God.
Do you believe? What does this mean to a “believer”?
Do you believe? That word “believe” carries with it the idea of total surrender, putting total assurance in what Christ did for us on the cross, not trusting our good works, not trusting our money, not trusting anything, not ever church membership, but trusting in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Second we must have a changed attitude toward sin. What does that mean? 1 John 5:18 says, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not”. But you know that Christians certainly sin. Do you know what “sinneth not” means? It means “does not practice sin.” We don’t practice sin as sin is no longer a “habit” in our lives.
But suppose we do sin, suppose we slip and fall. Suppose we yield to temptation for a moment. What happens? We have to confess that sin. Name it to the Lord and say “Lord, I have sinned.” The Scripture tells us, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,” (1 John 1:7) and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9).
But not only are we to confess, we are to forsake. There’s no use repenting of sin and saying, “I’m sorry Lord, I’ve sinned,” and then going back and repeating it. That is not repentance. Repentance carries with it the idea that we do not repeat it. In other words, sin is no longer a practice in our lives. We may slip and fall from time to time, but it’s not a practice. We don’t deliberately choose to do it.
That’s the reason the Bible teaches that the Christian life is a daily life. The Scripture says we are to “exhort one another daily,” (Hebrews 3:13). We are to take up our cross daily. We search the Scriptures daily. And we must renew our fellowship daily. The Scripture says deny self daily. It’s hard. We are living in an age when the pressures on us are greater, perhaps more so than any other generation in history.
Third, we must have a desire to obey God. “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). That doesn’t mean that we can keep them all the time, but we have a desire to keep them.
We are to separate ourselves from the world of evil. “Touch not the unclean thing,” says the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:17). When you face something in the world, ask yourself, does it violate any principle of Scripture? Does it take the keen edge off my Christian life? Can I ask God’s blessing on it? Will it be a stumbling block to others? Would I like to be there, or be reading that, or be watching that, if Christ should return at that time?
When we do sin, God does not reject us or disown us. Our fellowship with Him may be broken, but our relationship is not; we are still members of His family if we have truly committed our lives to Christ. When we sin we should immediately turn to God, confess our sin honestly, ask His forgiveness, then turn from our sin. The Bible promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
If we truly know Christ and are seeking to follow Him, we will not be complacent and unconcerned about sin in our lives. In fact, one of the signs of true spiritual life is the hatred of sin and the determination to conquer it. We will not continue to repeat the same sins over and over again, but will seek, God’s help (by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us), to overcome them. The Bible promises, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Indifference to sin in one’s life is a sure sign of serious spiritual sickness, and may indicate that one has never truly invited Jesus into one’s life as Savior and Lord (1 John 2:3-4).
Can you sin your whole life and receive salvation?
We must understand that redemption does not come through a profession of faith but through a possession of faith. Those of us who have faith are called to profess that faith; however, the mere profession of it does not guarantee that the genuine article is present. This is particularly so when someone makes a verbal profession strictly as a means of covering his bets or to play it safe and guard against the negative consequences. From a biblical standpoint, salvation requires authentic repentance. Justifying faith is a repenting faith. If there is no repentance, then that indicates that the profession of faith is fraudulent.
If a person could live his whole life in sin, rebellion, and disobedience and then on his deathbed truly repent and go to heaven, the answer is yes. The same as the thief on the cross met the Savior in his dying moments and was guaranteed eternity with him. It’s certainly not a wise course of action to postpone your repentance until the day of your departure because we don’t know when that day will be. But making a confession simply out of fear is not enough, that fear should give pause and cause us to think seriously about our future state.
Living in Holiness
There are many passages containing serious calls to holy living. In Hebrews 12:14-15 we are told that without daily holiness, no one will see the Lord. This is a warning against disobedience telling us that those who choose to walk in the world, will miss that experience of God’s presence.
In one sense all believers are “holy” through our union with the Holy Son of God, Jesus Christ. Holiness must be lived out on a daily basis as we seek the Lord in everything. When we do, we “see” the Lord and experience Him in a deep and intimate way. Eph. 4:30 challenges us not to “grieve” the Holy Spirit through anger, malice and other sins of the heart. When we do, we miss God’s best for our lives and lose the Joy of our salvation due to our separating ourselves from God. Only when we repent and ask God to forgive us of our sins that caused the separation, will we regain our “Joy” again (read how king David handled this in the 51st Psalm when he sinned with Bath-sheba).
Should we trust our feelings?
It’s important to realize we must not consider our feelings when it comes to being assured of our salvation. They can be easily manipulated by the enemy to deceive us. If today you think you are assured of your salvation and have a great feeling, what happens when we don’t have that feeling? Are we unsaved until we get that feeling back? Hardly, it’s simply that feelings are not a reliable assurance of our eternal security. We must trust in the Word of God. But there are ways to be assured of your salvation. Both Paul and John spoke of this.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:16-17).
What does this mean? How does His Spirit bear witness with our spirit? One way is simple, and often taken for granted. Do you believe the Bible? His Spirit wrote it. If you agree with it, your spirit and His are in agreement. This is not a minor point. Most people don’t believe the Bible is the very Word of God. It’s just something we as Christians take for granted. But Paul says it’s one way we can know we are children of God. Also in that great chapter Romans 8, is the following: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14).
We have several ways in the Bible to be assured of our salvation.
His Spirit bearing witness with our spirit. (Romans 8:16-17). This occurs by the Word of God.
Being led by God (Romans 8:14).
Keeping God’s commandments (1 John 3:23-24).
Love (agapao) for the brethren (1 John 3:14, 17-18).
There are whole denominations that answer yes to the question “Can I lose my salvation”. The Methodists, the Wesleyans, the Pentecostals, the Church of Christ and in a different sense, the Roman Catholic Church. On the other hand there are the Baptists, the Presbyterians and all of the Reformed churches who insist that a true believer may sin and sin terribly but in the end all truly redeemed will finally enter heaven.
It’s difficult for us who live in a uncertain world to believe that anyone can be that certain of heaven. How can you be sure? And does this teaching not invite pride and even possible spiritual laziness? Isn’t this doctrine damnable because it encourages believers to sin since they have nothing to lose?
These are fair questions so let’s begin by looking at two main reasons why some think you can lose your salvation. First, they point to certain scripture passages containing severe warnings of judgment to Christians. This is not an idle point because the New Testament does contain passages that could be interpreted as losing your salvation. Second, they point to professing Christians who fall away from their faith or turn from holiness to live in continued sin. All of us know cases of apparently born again believers who either drifted away from the church or fell into outright sin. Some repent and return, others do not. What shall we say about them? Have they lost their salvation? Did they ever have it in the first place?
This is a question of importance because it leads directly to the whole question of Christian assurance. Can anyone know with certainty, beyond any shadow of doubt that no matter what happens to you in the future, you are going to heaven when you die?
The answer simply is that it depends on who saved you. If God saved you, you can’t lose it because it depends on God. If you saved yourself, you can lose it because it depends on you. Philippians 1:6 says: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform (meaning will finish it), it until the day of Jesus Christ. When Paul says that he is “confident” of these things, he uses a very strong Greek word that means “fully persuaded” or “absolutely certain”. What Paul is saying that he is convinced that the work of grace that God began in the Philippians at conversion will be divinely continued until the day of Jesus Christ. That is, the Lord will keep working in these believers until Jesus returns to earth, at which point He will finish His work, bringing it to completion. This is speaking of the Christian’s eternal security. God had a purpose in view when He begins His saving work that will neither be abandoned nor unrealized.
This makes sense when you understand that salvation is God’s work from start to finish. He finishes what he starts. Consider the “Golden Chain” of salvation in Romans 8:29-30. Paul expresses the five links of the chain this way: Foreknown, predestined, called, justified, glorified. The first two concerns God’s decision to save those who trust in Christ, the second two refer to God’s activity in actually saving those whom he has chosen. The last “glorified” refers to what happens when God’s children finally get to heaven. When we stand before the Lord in resurrection bodies, free from sin forever, we will be in a glorified state. But how is it that Paul can express this truth about our future glorification in the past tense? Simply Paul says it in the past tense because it’s so certain of fulfillment that it is as if it had already happened.
Sometimes we use the term “eternal life” to refer only to that which happens to us after we die. But the biblical concept is quite different. In the Bible “eternal life” is nothing more or less than the life of God himself. Because He is eternal, the life He gives is eternal. And that life begins the moment a person believes. According to Jesus’ own words, a believer “has”, as a present possession, eternal life (John 3:36). He has “crossed over” from death to life. (John 5:24) He cannot “perish”. (John 3:16) He will never be “driven away” by Christ. (John 6:37) Christ will lose none of those entrusted to his care. (John 6:39) And no one in all creation shall snatch a believer from the hand of Christ. (John 10:28) It is hard to imagine how words could be any plainer to express the security of a true believer.
Read Romans 8:38-39 when Paul summons all creation to witness to the security of those whom God has called to salvation. The list would appear to be exhaustive: Neither death nor life; Neither angels nor demons; Neither the present nor the future; Nor any powers; Neither height nor depth; Nor anything else in all creation. None or all of these taken together in small parts can separate the true believer from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Some have asked if it were not possible for a believer to take himself out of God’s grace. You believed, so certainly you could “unbelieve” if you wanted to. And some have apparently done that. They have recanted their Christianity and returned to their former beliefs or gone back into the world and followed the path of sinful excess.
Surely God would not continue to save such as person would he? First in the great majority of cases we may say with assurance that such persons were never true believers to begin with. As with the parable of the “Sower” found in Mark 4:5 and the explanation found in verses 16 & 17, talks about “impulsive people who immediately receive the gospel. But not counting the cost and having no root or spiritual reality in themselves, believe for a while but soon are offended and defect from the truth because of persecution. Their rejection of the gospel is as speedy as their reception of it. Their faith was the profession of a religious person, not the saving faith the Bible talks about. They professed what they did not possess. Since they were never saved in the first place, they could not lose what they never had.
Second, in the remaining minority of cases we may simply reply that God saves whom He desires to save. There may well be some people in heaven who truly believed but later recanted but were saved as a demonstration of the depth of God’s amazing grace. Because Romans 8:39 says that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We can’t even separate ourselves from that saving love! Are you part of God’s creation? If the answer is yes, then even you can’t “unsave” yourself. This is surely the most stupendous truth relating to eternal security. Remember, we are all saved in the end in spite of ourselves and not because of anything we do. That’s why your salvation doesn’t rest on you, if it did you would never go to heaven.
Everything can be summarized in three simple statements:
- God has done everything necessary to make you eternally secure.
- Eternal security is the reason you can know you are going to heaven when you die.
- That is why Romans 8:1 says there is “no condemnation” to those who are in Christ Jesus.
A salvation you could lose is not much of a salvation at all. You can’t be sure you have it, and if you have it today, you can’t be sure you’ll have it tomorrow. And if you lose it, you can’t be sure you’ll get it again. And if you get it again, you can’t be sure you’ll keep it the next time. What kind of salvation is that? It’s a man centered salvation that makes heaven dependent on what you do.
Remember it all depends on who saves you. If you save yourself, or if you think salvation is a cooperative venture between you and God, then you can certainly lose it. Anything you do for yourself you can lose for yourself. But if God saves you, you are saved forever because it depends on him and not on you. What God does, he does forever.
What do the Greeks words for salvation mean?
The Greek words and the Hebrew words that are translated salvation and saved include “security.” Check out the meaning of the words in a Greek concordance or lexicon. You will see that when a person says, “I am saved,” not only does he mean, “I have been delivered from sin and Hell and judgment, but he also means, “I am secure, and God keeps me safe.” This is what the Greek and Hebrew words mean. For a person to say, “I believe you are saved, but I believe you can be lost,” is really a contradiction in terms. People who advocate such doctrines do not even realize what the bible is saying when Jesus promised to save us.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:5, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” In Jude 1 the Bible says, “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” The Bible says we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. And not only has God saved us and keeps us by His power, but we are preserved in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. We are sealed by the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. The angels of the Lord encamp about those that fear Him. The whole trinity keeps us, and just for good measure, the angels are keeping us safe and watching over God’s children. This is more than the devil can handle. There is no possibility to lose your salvation.
About the Corinthians
In 1 Corinthians 1:8 the Bible says, “Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, keep in mind, and it’s significant, that these are the Corinthians He is talking to. These people are confused and worldly, and jut messed up. They are babes in Christ; yet he tells them that God will confirm them unto the end. He tells them that they will be blameless in the day of Jesus Christ. Even the carnal babes and slack Christians will be confirmed and stand before God blameless when Jesus comes.
Teaching the doctrine of losing one’s salvation is a sin
Teaching one can lose their salvation is a sin because it nullifies the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts you, converts you, takes up His residence in your heart and seals you. His presence is God’s seal. Upon believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 says, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” When you believed, the Holy Spirit came in. He is the seal, He is the Earnest (as in earnest money).
Ephesians 4:30 tells you how long you are sealed for. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” When Jesus prayed in John 14:16, He said, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” How long does he stay? Forever, the Holy Spirit does not leave you.
Mockery of the new birth
Jesus said, “You must be born again.” He did not say, “You must be born again and again.” 1 Peter says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the work of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” When we are born again, God gives us a new heart. If we sin and lose our salvation, what happens to that new person, to that new nature? Does it just go up in smoke?
In other words, the Bible teaches us that when we are saved, we are newborn babies in Christ. It says we are the sons of God and we are the children of God by faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26)
The following 6 categories contain scripture sounding like you can lose your salvation (each category starts by telling what the scripture’s meaning is).
(1) Those not saved in first place
Gal. 5:4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
This verse could be translated: “You will be severed from Christ, if you try to be justified by law; you will forfeit the favor in God’s eyes which Christ won for you.” This does not teach the loss of salvation which one earlier possessed. Rather it means that if the readers truly renounce grace through faith alone as the way of salvation, if they depend on legalism to secure divine favor, then they show that they never really knew God’s grace in the first place.
James 2:26: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
The point of this analogy between the body and one’s faith is that both require an energizing element. The absence of that element renders the other component dead. If the person isn’t saved (doesn’t have the Holy Spirit) the body is dead or doomed to Hell. If the body is dead then so are the works.
Luke 8:13: “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away”.
This is from the parable of the Sower. The stony ground refers to the impulsive people who immediately receive the gospel, but not counting the cost, have no root or spiritual reality in themselves. They believe for awhile and are soon offended or defect from the truth because of persecution. Their rejection of the gospel is as speedy as their reception of it. These were never truly saved in the first place.
Ezek. 33:13 “When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it”.
The key to this is the phrase “trust to his own righteousness”. Matt. 6:33 states: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. It states “His” righteousness, not your own. Un-repented sin causes death. Matt. 5:20 says: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven”.
2 Peter 2:20-22: “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them”.
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
All of chapter 2 talks about false prophets and teachers. These are heretics who did not follow the teachings of Christ, rather were following the way of Balaam which you can see in verse 15. In verse 19 these false teachers are further called servants of corruption because, despite their profession of salvation, they have become entangled in the world and overcome by it. Therefore their later end is worse than their beginning profession, because they have now embarked on a course of action that denies their profession of Christ. The illustration of the dog and the sow vividly portray their folly.
1 Tim. 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”;
Expressly means clearly. To depart means to apostatize. Apostasy is the deliberate and permanent rejection of Christianity after a previous profession of faith in it. Doctrines of devils or doctrines that are taught by demons. An apostate is not someone who never knew the truth but someone who knew it and rejected it. He may have even been involved in various religious activities. But because he never truly knew God, he was lured away by the siren voices of the demons behind idols and false religious systems.
(2) A confusing scripture – Often misunderstood by many
Heb. 6:4-6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
This scripture is written to Jews by someone who was trying to keep them from going back into legalism after they had once heard the gospel of Christ (the writer of Hebrews is unknown). The writer was trying to keep these Jews from abandoning the faith and falling in apostasy.
Those who were being addressed in Hebrews were Jews that had not fully given their selves to Christ, therefore when they had heard the Word and then gone back into the Law of Moses, they became apostates. Not willing to pay the price for completely following Jesus as that would mean they would have to abandon their Jewish laws, customs and practices.
Once the covenant of Grace replaced the covenant of Law, the old law was no longer in effect. In fact, it was no longer in existence at all. That’s what the book of Hebrews is all about. Warning Jews not to hold onto the old ways but to embrace the Gospel of Christ fully and to realize that the covenant of law had been forever replaced by the new covenant of Grace. This scripture is simply stating that “it is impossible” in this particular situation.
(3) Physical persecution
- Matt. 10:22: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved”.
- Matt. 24:13: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”.
- Mark 13:13: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”.
These 3 scriptures which are almost identical is a promise of perseverance, not a teaching that salvation may be lost. Rather it indicates that those who are truly saved will indeed endure to the end.
- Rev. 2:10: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”.
The believers of Smyrna were undergoing persecution and had been reduced to poverty. They received no condemnation from Christ, but were encouraged to endure suffering faithfully.
(4) Loss of Reward
1 Cor. 3:15: “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire”.
1 Cor. 9:24-27: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”.
2 John 1:8 “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward”.
1 John 2:28: “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming”.
(5) Facing Physical Judgment and Death
Some scriptures deal with the possibility of Christians facing physical sickness and imminent death because of sin. 1 Corinthians 11:30 speaks of believers who were sick, weak and in some cases prematurely dead because of misbehavior at the Lord’s Table. 1 John 5:16-17 talks about “sin unto death”; James 5:19-20 exhorts to “save a sinner from death”; and in Hebrews 2, 6, 10, and 12 are all warnings. They teach us that God takes seriously the sinful lifestyles of those who claim to be his children. When we get to heaven we will discover that some of us endured hardship, sickness, debilitating disease and even premature death because of persistent un-confessed sin and willful disobedience to the Lord.
Phil. 2:12-13: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”.
This does not mean you should work for salvation in order to obtain it. The Greek phrase “work out” denotes the expression, manifestation, or actualization of something one already possesses. The Philippians are to “work out” the salvation God has already wrought in them (2:13), carrying it to its logical conclusion. God has granted them salvation not just for their own profit, but for the good of others as well. If they work out and manifest the new life divinely worked in them, they will live lives worthy of the gospel (1:27), in harmony with each other (2:2), seeking the progress of the gospel. They will also regard one another as more important than themselves (2:3), be concerned with the needs of others (2:4), and make the appropriate sacrifices in obedience to God, as did Jesus. In doing all this they will work out or express the new life they have through Christ.
Col. 1:21-23: “And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister”;
Reconciliation is the act whereby God, through Christ’s atonement, brings men who are at odds with Him back into a peaceful, proper relationship with Himself. “In the body of his flesh through death” (or “by His fleshly body through death”): The Colossian heretics may have argued that Jesus’ humanity and death indicate His inferiority to the angelic beings in the universe. Paul turns this argument against them, showing that His death points to His superiority; for His death is the divine means of achieving reconciliation to God. To present you holy … in his sight (or “to bring you holy … into His presence”). This expresses the ultimate purpose of reconciliation: it is to eventually usher the believer, made perfectly holy, into the heavenly presence of God.
Romans 11:22: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off”.
This chapter talks of Israel being set aside, but a remnant remains. This is talking about the Gentiles being grafted in. Paul recognized both a unity of the church with Israel as enjoying the same blessing, and a diversity, neither usurping the other. When God is finished with the Gentiles He will reinstate Israel. Israel was set aside because of unbelief. The Gentiles have favor because of their belief. Therefore they should not be proud, but realize that intrinsic nature does not matter to or deter God. They should realize what He will do.
When people abandoned the church or teaching of the apostles, these scriptures indicate they were never saved in the first place
Mat 7:15: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Titus 3:10-11″ “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self condemned.”
1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for it they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
Jude 4: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation.”
Anointing of the Holy Spirit
1 John 2:27: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him”.
Eph 4:11-16: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love”.
Eph 4:11-16 indicates that the Spirit often uses human instruments to fulfill His role of enabling believers to distinguish between truth and error. In any case it is the Word of God that furnishes the believer with knowledge, and which the Spirit then makes relevant and applicable in the believer’s life.
Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”.
Are we to do good only to other Christians and forget our neighbors
Gal. 6:10: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith”.
Owing to the certainty of being divinely rewarded in verses 6:8-9, believers are urged to seize each opportunity to do good. Contextually, doing good refers to the ministry of restoration, 6:1, bearing one another’s burdens, 6:2, supporting teachers, 6:6, sowing to (living in accord with the leading of) the Spirit, 6:8, and general perseverance, 6:9. Believers are to minister first unto them who are of the household of faith (Christians), and second, to the rest of the world.
Prov. 3:27: “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee”.
The needy neighbor is to be helped.
Assembling Ourselves Together:
Heb. 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”.
Assurance of our Salvation
You may be a Christian who has wondered or doubted about your salvation. Meaning you may have questioned whether or not you were really saved eternally. Without the real assurance of eternal salvation as a solid foundation, it is difficult for any Christian to grow and experience the deeper things of the Christian life. However the Bible says it is possible to know without any doubt that you are a saved person and have eternal life.
The scriptures that are found in 1 John give us that assurance. It is summed up with 1 John 5:13 when it states: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Not that you think or feel, but that you may know.
If you ever asked yourself if your conversion experience is genuine, this test will help to answer that question. The letter of 1 John contains a very complete series of tests. The first covers the obedience to Christ and the second covers the belief in the truth.
Scriptures to determine if you are obedient to Christ (The following scriptures all come from 1 John)
1:6-7 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin”.
(2:3-6 “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked”.
2:9-11 “The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes”.
2:17 “The world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever”.
2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him”.
3:4-10 “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother”.
3:14 “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who does not love abides in death”.
3:19-20 “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”
(3:24 “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in Him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us”.
4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love”.
4:12-13 “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit”.
4:16 “The one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him”.
4:20 “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen”.
5:2 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments”.
5:13 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”.
The scriptures clearly teach that it is possible to know whether you are saved or unsaved. The assurance of the believer is not based on feeling, (though the Christian may “feel” saved), but on the principles of God’s Word. We can know we are saved because Christ is in our hearts (Col. 1:27; 1 John 5:12), because of the witness of the Word of God (1 John 5:10-11), because of answered prayer (John 14:14; 1 John 5:14-15), because of our understanding of the Scriptures (1 John 5:20), because we keep His commandments (2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 5:18), because we love the brethren (1 John 3:14), and because we have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:16). Paul claimed to have this inner confidence and was fully persuaded concerning the keeping power of God in salvation (2 Tim 1:12).
As the first series of tests had to do with obedience to Christ, these have to do with belief in the truth.
The following scriptures all come from 1 John (except the last one)
1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us”.
2:23 “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also”.
4:6 “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit or error”.
4:15 “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God”.
5:1 “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God, and whoever loves the Father loves the one born from Him”.
5:10-12 “The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life”.
2 John 9 “Whosoever transgresseth, (sins) and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son”.
If you’re reading this and have once made a decision to become a Christian but are living a sinful life, you may have the feeling that you have lost your salvation. There are two things to consider:
God disciplines His children, and your desire as a person with a changed heart ought to be to follow Christ. If you are comfortable in your sin, if you do not long to return to a righteous life, or if you have never changed your behavior since you became a Christian, you were probably never saved. The solution then is simple, you must repent and believe.
Perhaps you surrendered your life to Christ and served Him faithfully for a while but then got lazy. You may have fallen into all kinds of sin since then. Now you are feeling guilty and something is drawing you back to God. This is evidence that you were genuinely saved, but it is not an excuse to stay in your sin!
When we were saved, not only did we receive something (eternal life), but we became something. We became children of God. A human father may be able to take back a gift he has given to his child, but he can never take back the human life that he gave. Although the child may misbehave, the child is still the father’s. In the same way we are God’s children. Even though we have weaknesses, and may require His discipline, our faults cannot change the fact that we are His children. God disciplines those that He loves. He is also a God who is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess our faults and sins to Him. The life that we received from our second birth is eternal life, a life that through God will last forever. Once we are born again, we can never be “un-born”.
Proverbs 14:14: “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself”.
1 Cor. 3:1-3: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
“I have fed you with milk, and not with meat”: In the case of newborn babes, this would be natural and to be expected (1 Peter 2:2). But it is embarrassing at this stage in their development. Milk figuratively stands for elementary Christian instruction, and meat refers to advanced doctrine. “Carnal” (means fleshly): The warfare between the flesh and the spirit receives continual emphasis in Paul’s writings (Rom. 7:14; Rom. 8:13; Gal. 5:17). The factions that have destroyed the unity in Corinth indicate that these believers were not waking by the Spirit, but were allowing the flesh to direct their behavior.
Jer. 3:22: “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God”.
Backsliding: The word backslide literally means “turning back” or “turning away.” Although it occurs throughout the Old Testament, Moses and Jeremiah especially use it to describe Israel’s failure in their covenant relationship with God. Backsliding implied a stubborn and rebellious attitude on the part of ancient Israel and may have referred either to their forsaking the covenant (in whole or in part), or to their failure to grow spiritually according to God’s progressive revelation. The term is often applied today to Christians who have fallen into sin, but it could also apply to those who have failed to grow spiritually (see Paul’s use of carnal in 1 Cor. chapters 1-3). The cause of backsliding is the desire to do things our way rather than God’s way (Proverbs 14:14). Christians should be careful to follow the Lord and grow in grace so as not to backslide.
Can we live as we want after salvation?
There are those who believe it is wrong to believe we can’t lose our salvation as it then gives us the right to live any kind of a sinful lifestyle we want and still expect to go to Heaven. But scripture makes it clear that this is the way it is. A Christian can turn from God and back to a life of sin. What they will miss then is the joy of a close personal relationship with God.
When a person is truly saved and “believes in Him” (believes in Jesus Christ), that person becomes a new creature. Read carefully what the term “believe in Him” means. As a new creature, your life is changed forever. You receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which indwells in you from that moment on. What many need to understand is that God knows our hearts. It’s not what we say with our mouths, but what our hearts say. At that point our heart controls our words and actions. This manifests into what we do, our deeds. Any conversion that is not sincere is in fact, no conversion at all.
Those who experience this conversion will not, nor can they, habitually sin anymore. Habitually means to continue to do the same sin(s) over and over again thinking you can simply ask forgiveness and everything will be forgiven. That’s not to say you will never sin again because that’s impossible. I’m saying you will not be able to consciously sin because the Holy Spirit living in you will make you feel really rotten and guilty.
Some may think, this is great, once they’re saved they can do as they please and not lose their salvation. But salvation is not about being free to do as one pleases; it is becoming free from having to serve the old sin nature, and being free to pursue a right relationship with God. As long as believers live on this earth in their sinful bodies, there will be a constant struggle with giving in to sin. Living in sin hinders the relationship God seeks too have with mankind, and as long as one lives in sin as a believer, he will not enjoy the relationship God intended to have with him. But, Christians can have victory over the struggle with sin, by studying and applying God’s Word (the Bible) in their lives, and being controlled by the Holy Spirit. That is, submitting to the Spirit’s influence and leading in everyday circumstances, and through the Spirit obeying God’s Word.
If you are living in a right relationship with God, obeying Him and asking for forgiveness when you sin, then you have no reason to fear losing your salvation. In reality, there are some people who need the comfort of such a doctrine as they are not living in a right relationship with God and who are not living for Jesus. They may have areas of compromise and sin in their lives and the idea of “eternal security” is comforting to them. They think that they can continue to live for themselves and they’ll still go to heaven. But those people are missing the joy of their salvation and their loss of rewards in Heaven. Instead they need to get into a right relationship with God and to focus on living for the Lord instead of living for themselves.
One should not be concerned about losing their salvation but should be committed growing in the Lord. By serving Him with all your heart, living for Him, loving Him, praising and worshiping Him, seeking His will and not your own, reading His Word, confessing your sins and doing whatever He says. Not out of fear but because of your love for Him, and the Bible says that to love Him is to obey Him. (John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10; 1 John 2:5, 5:3). Purposefully cultivate a loving relationship with Jesus and obey His desires and commands found in His Word. In other words, instead of worrying about the “eternal security” doctrine, cling to Christ instead.
Failure of Faith
There are six New Testament expressions that trace the decline of faith in an individual. Before a person is saved, he may have:
- “Vain faith”: – Or belief in the wrong doctrine – 1 Cor. 15:14-17 “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
- “Dead faith”: – Or belief in orthodox doctrine without personal belief in Christ – James 2:19-20 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
- After a person is saved, he can experience the following varieties of faith: a kind of unbelief, experienced by believers who fail to accept the whole work of Christ – Mark 16:11-14 “And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”
- “Little faith”: – A mixture of faith and unbelief – Mark 7:26 “The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.”
- “Weak faith” – Referring to belief expressed as mere legalism – Romans 14:1 “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”
- “Strong faith” – Faith that is rooted in the promises of God – Romans 4:20 “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;”
As Christians mature, they should grow in faith. This was the experience of Abraham. Early in his pilgrimage with God, he could not trust God to protect him in Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20). This was weak faith. He was later able to trust God, in sacrificing his son Isaac. This was strong faith (Heb. 11:17-19).
Foreknowledge or Predestination
- Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”.
Foreknowledge speaks of God’s awareness of the actual and potential future (Acts 2:23 and 26:5; Rom. 8:29 and 11:2; 1 Peter 1:2 and verse 20; 2 Peter 3:17).
Predestination does not mean that God chooses whom he wants in heaven. Far from it. It means God knows what each of us will do in our life even before we are born. Even if we live 60 years as a sinner, then accept Christ and walk faithfully with Him, we are still saved the same as any other Christian. Doesn’t mean that our life as a sinner was easy during our years of unbelief, and speaking for myself, it certainly wasn’t. But boy did it change when at the age of 62 I committed my life to God. He knew I would all along. I was predestined from birth although I didn’t know it most of my life. Praise God. (And did my life drastically change after that point).
The word means “foreordination” (Acts 2:23 and 1 Peter 1:20). Those whom God foreknew, He also loved and ordained to be conformed to the image of His Son. On the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter vividly illustrated the harmony between God’s sovereignty and man’s personal responsibility. Even though the Cross was in the eternal plan of God and part of His sovereign will. Therefore they bore personal responsibility for the Christ’s death. We too are responsible for our personal actions and behavior (Acts 2:23).
Romans 8:30: “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”.
Called: The calling of Romans 8:28 is pretemporal; it occurred before the creation of the world (Eph. 1:4). The calling here is temporal and refers to the effectual communication of the gospel, resulting in salvation.
Justified (see Romans 3:24).
Glorified: Glorification is God’s doing. While God’s foreknowledge and predestination take place in eternity, and while God’s calling and justification are realized in history, God’s glorifying is yet future. It is as certain, however, as the previous works. Hence glorified is in the past tense. From God’s point of view it is already accomplished.
2 Tim 1:9: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”,
“Who hath saved us”, (Paul speaking of God), “and called us with a holy calling”, looks at the means by which our salvation was effected. “His own purposes and Grace” and “was given us” indicates that our salvation was totally unmerited.
2 Tim 1:10: “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”:
“Abolished death and brought life”, (eternal union of the soul with God), and “immortality (incorruption), which is guaranteed by His resurrection.
Eph. 1:4-5: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”.
What does this word predestinate mean? Does it mean that if we were not chosen, we would not go to heaven? The verb predestinate literally means “to mark off or choose before.” God chooses those He knows will participate in His plan of salvation and extends it to all who respond in faith. The doctrine of predestination in Scripture relates to the foreknowledge of God (Rom 8:29). Predestination is especially noticeable in the conversion of the apostle Paul. Since he was a blasphemer and persecutor of the church, some Christians had a difficult time believing Paul could be saved even after he so testified (Acts 9:13 and verse 26). Still, knowing what was ahead and how Paul would respond, God chose him as Apostle to the Gentiles. When we understand that God has chosen and predestined us, we should also realize we have been ordained to good works (Eph. 2:10), to bear fruit (John 15:16), and to become like Jesus (Rom 8:29).
Adoption: Five times the apostle Paul uses the word adoption to describe an important aspect of the salvation experience (Rom. 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:15). Under Roman law, adoption was a common means of appointing an heir. It legally transferred a person from the natural father’s authority to the authority of the adoptive father. Paul uses this term to describe the believer’s position with God. This is the means whereby the Christian becomes a son of God, and therefore an heir with Christ. When Abraham was without a son, he apparently considered adopting Eliezer his servant as the heir of his household. Because the Christian is an adopted son of God, he can enjoy an intimacy with his heavenly Father (Gal. 4:6)
Eph. 1:11: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”:
This may also read, “By whom we were also made an inheritance.” That is, believers are God’s treasure. Why would Paul regard this as a blessing? As God’s treasure Christians are the apple of His eye, the special objects of His love. He is then determined to care and provide for His people who are His heritage.
Eph. 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”.
“For” verifies the assertion of man’s good works having no part in obtaining salvation. “Workmanship” refers not to our original or physical birth, but to our spiritual birth: what we are spiritually in the good sense is due to God, not ourselves. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works means “having been (morally), re-created by Christ Jesus for good works”. That is, Jesus remade our spiritual lives so that we could then do good works. The apostle’s thinking is this: since the Christian has been given spiritual life for the purpose of doing good works, there could have been no good works by him prior to conversion that would merit salvation. Good works follow, they do not precede, salvation.
Inerrant Word of God
2 Tim. 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”:
Inspiration: This refers to the supernatural guidance of the writers of Scripture by the Spirit of God, so that what they wrote was the divine Word of God, transcribed accurately. Reliably, and without error in the original manuscripts (“autographs”). The word inspiration itself pictures God breathing out His Word to me. Not everything written by an apostle or a prophet was necessarily inspired. Paul wrote at least three epistles to the Corinthians, but apparently only two were an inspired record (1 Cor 5:9). Samuel, Nathan and Gad each wrote accounts of David’s life; only one of these prophets produced an inspired record (1 Chr 29:29). Since the Scriptures are given to help Christians grow in maturity, they should rely upon them for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (right living).
2 Peter 1:21: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”.
Holy Spirit in Inspiration: The Scriptures were written by holy men of God (about 40 in all), “as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” While in no way denying the personalities of the human writers or rejecting the distinctiveness of their particular styles, the Holy Spirit controlled the process of bringing things to the writers’ memories (John 16:13) and ensuring what they recorded was the very Word of God. Jeremiah once became so frustrated that he wanted to quit, but God’s Spirit compelled him to go on (Jer. 20:9). Likewise, Jonah at first refused to take God’s message to Nineveh, but later obeyed God’s second call (Jonah 3:1) As Christians read the Bible, they can be confident that it is the very Word of God.
John 17:17: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth”.
Inerrancy: When applied to Scripture, the term inerrancy means that what God revealed and inspired is accurate, reliable, authoritative, and without error. Since all scripture is inspired, every Word of God is true. Just as a book often reflects the character of its writer, so the scripture is without error because God is without fault. Jesus upheld the principle of inerrancy when He preached in Nazareth. He carefully stopped reading in the middle of a verse before announcing the fulfillment of Scripture that day. (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18). The rest of the Isaiah passage will be fulfilled at His second coming. As we read the Scriptures, we can have total confidence in their reliability and accuracy.
Psalm 119:160: “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever”.
Jer 36:27: “Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying”,
Preservation of Scripture: God, who inspired the Scripture, has throughout the years protected His Word from the attacks of evil men so as to preserve its content and existence. While the autographs (the early manuscripts), have long since disappeared, ancient copies and quotations from early Christian leaders demonstrate the preservation of Scripture. If there were no manuscripts, a complete copy of the Scriptures could be reproduced simply from the many quotations found in the writings of the church fathers. God’s preservation of Scriptures was demonstrated in the ministry of Jeremiah (Jer. 36:27 above). When the king destroyed the first scroll of his prophecy, God had it reproduced to ensure its preservation. As we read the Scriptures, the fact that God has preserved them for us over the years should emphasize their importance.
Heb 7:25: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”.
The intercessory work of Christ for the Christian is similar to preventive medicine. In one sense, intercession identifies Christ’s present work of mediation in heaven. The biblical use of the term more specifically describes Christ’s intervention on behalf of believers’ weaknesses and temptations. Christ is continually and actively interceding on our behalf. The assurance of the believer should rest in part on this present ministry of Christ’s intercession.
Joy of salvation
Is there anything that can make us feel that we do not have salvation? Many people only focus on having salvation but having little enjoyment or joy of that salvation. There is more than just being saved from the flames. God desires that we have joy in the Lord. His intention is that we not only have Christ, but that we enjoy Him to the fullest. Philippians 4:4 states: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
The normal condition of a Christian is to be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. One of the greatest enjoyments for a Christian is to be with others who love and enjoy Christ. No human words can utter the sweetness that we experience when we praise Him and share His love with others. There are times when we may not have this overflowing joy. Does that mean we’ve lost our salvation? Absolutely not! Our salvation is based upon God and not upon us. But unfortunately it is possible to lose the joy of that salvation.
What causes us to lose our joy? First, In a word, sin. Joy depends on having an unbroken fellowship with God but sin separates us from Him. Isaiah 59:1-2 tells us: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Second is grieving the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30-32 tells us: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. Simply put, we are to be kind to one another as we are commanded.
When we are saved, we become God’s temple and have His Spirit in us. 2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us that the Spirit within us is that of Christ Jesus. Like every living person, He also has feelings and attitudes. When we speak or do things contrary to Him, He is grieved with us. When the Holy Spirit is grieved, our spirit which according to 1 Cor. 6:17, is joined to Him, is also grieved. And the consequence is that we then lose our joy.
To maintain our Joy, we need to be in the Word. This can be accomplished by going to church, fellowshipping, going to Sunday school and by personal reading and study. “We need to take God’s Word as our food. Jeremiah 15:16 states: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.”
Often we discover that after reading and praying over God’s Word, our heart is filled with peace and joy. We should continually feed and feast on God’s Word, because we do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
We can also pray. John 16:24 tells us to Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.
To maintain our joy, we also need to fellowship with other believers. The greatest enjoyment for a Christian is to be together with others who love the Lord. No words can utter the sweetness we experience when we praise Him and speak about Him together. 1 John 1:3-4 says, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full”.
Although we never lose our salvation in Christ, we can lose the enjoyment of close communion and fellowship with our heavenly Father. For example, when your child sins against you, it temporarily hinders your ability to be close and enjoy each other’s company. But even though all is not well at that time between you, the child never ceases to be your child. The same is true for those of us who have trusted Christ as our Savior. Whenever we sin against God and put distance between Him and ourselves, we are still His children who are secure in His love. That is why in Luke 7:50, Jesus told the sinful woman whose faith had saved her to “go in peace”. She could rest and not worry about where she stood with God. That relationship was eternally secure.
We will sin as Christians and our sin should grieve us. But it shouldn’t take us by surprise. The apostle John said, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). He didn’t just mean the total amount of our sins, but the various kinds of sins as well. In other words, God forgives and cleanses us from every kind of sin possible. His mercy has no limits.
Rom. 5:1-4 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope”:
“Justified by faith”, (because we have been justified by faith): It was God’s doing not man’s. Peace with God: This is not a feeling but a standing. God and the believer are no longer at enmity but have been reconciled (Romans 5:10, 5:11; 2 Cor. 5:18). This is a primary result of our justification. “Access”: We can come directly into the presence of God. Jesus Christ is not only our Redeemer, but He is also our Advocate. By Him we gain entrance and acceptance before the Father (1 John 2:1-2). Wherein we stand: This is the answer to the psalmist’s question: Psalms 130:3 “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” Rejoice (“we boast”), in hope denotes the absolute certainty the believer has of God’s deliverance.
Rom 5:10-11: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement”.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Justification is the act of God whereby our legal standing in heaven is changed and we are declared righteous. The verb “justify” and the adjective “righteous” are linked in Scripture, since both share a common Greek root. When we express saving faith in God, He adds righteousness and perfection to our record. God is the source, with the power to declare righteous, and man is the recipient, being declared righteous. Abraham is the first person the Bible describes as being justified. This does not mean he was the first child of God, only that his is the first recorded case of justification. With Abraham, as with others later, justification was the result of saving faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 5:1). Anyone who comes to God and trusts Christ for salvation will be justified.
No one comes to Jesus unless the Father sends them
John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”.
John 6:65: “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father”.
Old Testament Scripture Telling of the Coming of Christ
- Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”.
- Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”.
Rom. 3:25 “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
Propitiation is the act of God, motivated by His immense love, whereby He accepts the blood of Christ as the complete and satisfying sacrifice for all human sin, thus establishing a means of reconciliation between God and man. While the offering of the blood of Christ was a sufficient propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), the complete benefits of His sacrifice are available only to those who by faith accept this provision for sin. The first occurrence of the Greek word for propitiation in the New Testament is in an expression used by Peter, sometimes translated as “God have mercy on you” (Matt. 16:22). Ironically, it was only because mercy was not extended to Christ in His suffering that propitiation was made for Peter and for the world. Those of us who have benefited from this expression of God’s love ought also to love one another (1 John 4:10-11).
1 John 2:1-2: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”.
Propitiation is here an atoning sacrifice. Jesus bore in His body the punishment due us for our sin; in so doing He propitiated God, satisfied God’s just demand that sin be punished. Thus Jesus is both the advocate for sinners (verse 1), and the sacrifice for their sins.
2 Cor. 5:19: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”.
Reconciliation is the act whereby God on the basis of Christ’s death, has eliminated the cause of hostility between Himself and humanity, making possible a complete and maturing fellowship. (The hostility was caused by sin, and was eliminated by the Cross). An illustration of reconciliation is when David prepared to fight for the Philistines, they feared he might betray them in battle in order to become reconciled with Saul. They answered that such an act would greatly please King Saul and be sufficient to restore a decayed relationship between Saul and David. Those who have become reconciled to God have also been given the ministry of reconciliation, which is fulfilled when they engage in soul winning.
Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”;
Regeneration refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation experience that produces new life in the believer. To express this concept, Jesus used the expression “born again” in His conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:3-7). Regeneration is the work of God, through the Holy Spirit, of placing in one who has faith a new nature, capable of doing God’s will. The Holy Spirit is the agent or divine workman of this regeneration. His instrument is the Bible, which is likened to a hammer that judges sin (Jer. 23:29), a mirror that reveals sin (James 1:23, a sword that defeats Satan (Heb 4:12), and a lamp that guides the believers (Psalms 119:105). People are instantaneously “born again”, the moment they trust Christ as Savior (1 Pet. 1:23). Christians should be careful to cooperate with God in growing as children of God after they are regenerated, or given new life.
1 Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”:
Will perform it means “will finish it”. Paul is convinced that the work of grace that God began in the Philippians at conversion will be divinely continued “until the day of Jesus Christ.” That is, the Lord will keep working in these believers until Jesus returns to earth, at which point He will finish His work, bringing it to completion. This speaks of the Christian’s eternal security. For God had a purpose in view when He began His saving work in the Philippians, both the good and the difficult.
The word sanctification means “to be set apart.” The Holy Spirit is attempting to make the believer holy (set apart), and spiritual (reflecting the character of God). This is being accomplished in three phases. First, the believer is forgiven and set apart to God at his conversation (positional sanctification). Second, the believer is constantly being set apart from sin when he utilizes the means of grace (i.e. the Word and prayer), in his life (progressive sanctification). Third, complete sanctification begins at death, or at the Rapture, and is completed when the believer’s spirit is reunited with his resurrection body. We Christians should recognize that God uses all things to accomplish His purpose of making us like Jesus; therefore we should cooperate with the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:28-29).
Saved by Grace
Phil 3:9: “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”:
Eph. 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith”, saving grace of God is the expression of His goodness toward the undeserving. Grace means unmerited favor, and can be expressed by the acrostic “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”. This grace is the basis of our salvation (Eph 1:7). In salvation, men who deserve hell obtain heaven. This cannot be explained apart from God’s grace. Every conversion in Scripture is an example of God’s grace. When Paul (Saul), met the Lord on the Damascus Road, Paul was a persecutor of the church. Yet God made him one of the church’s chief preachers. We need to remember that we are saved, given the Holy Spirit, and allowed to serve God, by His grace.
Saving Faith is part of humanity’s response to God in the salvation experience. It is as simple as looking to Jesus for salvation (John 3:14-16). Saving faith is both simple and complex. It is as simple as a drowning man reaching for a rope, yet at the same time it sets in motion all the judicial machinery of heaven, in keeping with the ultimate purpose of God. While believing is simple, there are some for whom it is too simple, and they find that difficult. In the Scriptures, the intensity of one’s faith is not as important as its object. Often belief in the gospel produces an emotional response (Acts 16:34), although, because individual personalities differ, it is not wise to use emotion as a test of faith. Ultimately, saving faith is called “conversion.” An Illustration would be when the Philippian jailer asked, “what must I do to be saved?” (Thus reflecting a spirit of repentance). Paul and Silas responded, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). To be saved a person must trust Christ alone for his salvation.
Sealing of the Holy Spirit
Eph. 4:30: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption”.
Eph. 1:13: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”,
The last sentence can also be read, “By whom also, when you believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” The Christian receives the Spirit not “after”, but when he believes in Christ as Savior. The sealer is Jesus; the seal is the Holy Spirit. In biblical times a seal denoted both identification of ownership and protection provided by the owner.
The sealing of the Holy Spirit guarantees the benefits of our salvation, as a person might seal an envelope to guarantee its enclosures. The Holy Spirit is the seal. The Holy Spirit as the seal to the believer is also a “down payment” of His commitment to someday give him all other things God has promised. Christians should be careful to “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption”.
Eph. 1:14: “Which is the earnest (down payment or deposit) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory”.
The Holy Spirit is here called “the earnest of our inheritance”. The word earnest means, “down payment”; as such the gift of the Spirit is viewed as an installment or as part of our salvation. God therefore assures the Christian that the realization of the rest of his salvation is forthcoming. How long is the believer assured of his salvation? Until the redemption of the purchased possession may be read, “until God glorifies and perfects the believer (who is the purchased possession) whom He has bought by Christ’s blood.
1 Cor. 6:19: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
1 Cor. 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Not only is the local church a temple of the Holy Spirit, but the individual believer’s body itself also is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor. 6:14-18: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty”.
A Christian should live a holy life that reflects the nature of God, who saved him. (1 Peter 1:16). He should separate himself from actions, influences, or people that will contaminate him. A Christian should apply the biblical principles of separation and avoid what is:
(1) Against a biblical standard of purity (1 Cor 6:17-20; 2 Cor 10:4-5);
(2) Against a biblical prohibition (Ex. 20:3-17);
(3) An association that will harm (1 Cor 5:10);
(4) Harmful to the body (1 Cor 6:19);
(5) Harmful to a weaker brother (1 Cor. 8:8-13);
(6) Offensive to the conscience (James 4:17); or
(7) Failure to follow the example of Christ (1 Peter 2:21)
The Corinthian church was an immature congregation, with problems in many areas, but victory was available through Christ (1 Cor 15:57). Correct relationship to the Holy Spirit will make a believer “holy” and “spiritual.”
Sin separates us from God
Isa. 59:1-2: Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Psalms 66:18: If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Romans 5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Headship of Adam: Adam, the federal head of the human race, was also the seminal head. The word seminal (seed), implies that everyone existed in seed form within Adam, and that he was the head of the human race. We were all in the body of Adam when he sinned, just as Levi was in the body of Abraham when he met Melchizedek (Heb. 7:10) In that sense, every member of the human race played a part in the fall of man. When Adam sinned, we were actually sinning with him. Adam was also the federal head of the race. In this sense, Adam’s vote for sin is similar to the vote of a representative in the legislature (Congress or Senate), who by his vote obligates his constituents for certain indebtedness. While Adam’s disobedience resulted in the human race being plunged into sin, the obedience of Christ (the Second Adam), gives Christians the power to overcome sin in their lives.
Imputed Sin: The meaning of impute is “to ascribe to” or “reckon”. The imputation of sin occurred originally when the sin of Adam was charged to the account of every person. The imputation of sin is not arbitrarily charging people with sins for which they are not naturally responsible, but reckoning to them the guilt they deserve. Imputation of sin is charged to all because we all are connected with Adam’s race. God not only imputes the sin of Adam to the race; He also offers to do the same with the righteousness of Christ (Rom 5:21). When God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the account of a believer, He makes the person’s record as good (or as perfect) as Jesus Christ’s. Imputed righteousness is the only remedy for imputed sin.
Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”;
Personal Sin: A personal sin may be one of commission (doing something that is prohibited), or a sin of omission (failing to do what is required of us). It may also express itself in either an act or attitude. Sin is portrayed in Scripture as falling short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), or going astray like a wandering sheep (Isa. 53:6), transgressing or overstepping the law (Psalms 51:1; Luke 15:29), and trespassing, which means exercising our own wills in the realm of divine authority (Eph. 2:1). Sin brings hideous results, affecting not only our relationship with God, but also our relationship with others. If not checked, sin will destroy the natural process of every person. Christians should not sin; but if they do, they should remember their advocate (Jesus Christ), and confess their sins in order to restore fellowship with God. (1 John 1:9 – 2:2).
1 John 1:9 – 2:2: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”.
We should not deny our sins, but rather to confess them before God. This opens the door for His forgiving and cleansing light to purify our hearts. Unrighteousness is another way of saying “sin”. This forgiveness is what puts us back into communion with God and removes the separation that sin causes. Born again believers should do this whenever they realize they have sinned or during their daily prayers with God so that the joy of their salvation is not lost.
Temptation isn’t from God
James 1:12-13: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”
The observance of the Sabbath
Isaiah 58:13-14: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
Why doesn’t God answer some people’s prayers?
Simply put, God does not hear the prayers of an unrighteous man or woman. To pray to God when in time of trouble and remaining unrepentant the rest of the time does absolutely no good whatsoever. Sin is what separates us from God. As John 9 below tells us plainly, God does NOT hear sinners, at least unrepentant sinners. When a person turns their life over to Jesus, confesses their sins and asks to be forgiven, and believes in Him, the Father will hear a person’s prayers. So there is no misunderstanding about this, everyone sins which causes a separation from God. But God’s children who are filled with the Holy Spirit can not continue to commit the same sin(s) over and over. This will grieve the Holy Spirit and your joy with God will be broken. By obeying the commandments, loving your neighbor, trying to please God in everything you say and do, studying the Word and by asking daily for forgiveness of the sin in your life keeps you walking closer to God.
John 9:31: “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth”.
Psalms 66:18: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”:
Job 35:13: “Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it”. (“hear vanity” means: listen to an empty cry)
Prov 1:28: “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me”:
Prov 15:29: “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous”.
Prov 28:9: “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination”.
Isaiah 1:15-20: “And when ye spread forth your hands, (meaning pray) I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it”.
The prophet’s appeal in Isaiah to come and reason together reveals God’s gracious invitation to all men. It literally means to be “reasonable” by repenting and turning to God. Their sin is described as scarlet and red like crimson, referring to their blood-guiltiness before God. The term crimson also means “worm,” referring to the colorfast red dye of the scarlet worm. The eradication of this stain turns it snowy white and is symbolic of the life changing grace of God, which delivers men from the guilt and condemnation of sin. Thus the prophet reminds his readers that God stands ready to cleanse and forgive all who will turn to Him.
Ezek. 8:18: “Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them”.
Micah 3:4: “Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings”.
To put things in perspective, this describes the nature of the “new creature”
- Our sin nature is changed. We can no longer habitually sin.
- We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- We want others to know about Jesus Christ.
- We want to read and study the Word of God, not that we have to.
- We discover the Joy of our Salvation.
- We realize that separation from God is possible if we sin and don’t reconcile ourselves through prayer.
- We have a deep desire to learn more of and about the Word of God.
- We know that God hears our prayers.
- We truly love our neighbors.
- We ask God before making decisions of what we should do in our lives.
- We try daily to please God with our words and actions.