Is Salvation a Sure Thing or Dependent Upon Us? Part 2

May 4, 2015 at 7:48 AM 2 comments

eternal-security1In the first in this series – Is Salvation a Sure Thing or Dependent Upon Us? Part 1 – we barely introduced the concept of whether or not salvation is eternally secure or if it is dependent upon our actions following salvation? Some believe that salvation can be lost while others believe it cannot be lost. The purpose of this short series is to see if it is possible to determine which view is the correct view according to the Scriptures.

While we mentioned Hebrews 10:14 and Romans 8 last time, we didn’t get an opportunity to go over them. We did spend a bit of time contrasting 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 with 1 John 2:19.

I mentioned last time that receiving salvation from God in Christ is essentially entering into a living, vibrant relationship with God through Jesus and is based solely on faith. This occurs because of a spiritual transaction that takes place within us, according the third chapter of the gospel of John. A person must become “born again” or “born from above.” This is far beyond a simple prayer recitation, going to church, reading the Bible, praying, teaching Sunday School, etc. While these things are certainly beneficial, they do not, in and of themselves, bring about salvation for the individual.

Hebrews 11 – considered to be the great hall of faith chapter in the Bible – provides numerous examples of individuals who were counted righteous by God and every single one of them is based on their belief God and His ability to save. The things they did afterwards completely stemmed from that belief in Him. The actions themselves did not provide salvation. The actions were a natural outflow of believing God at His Word.

Verse 4 of Hebrews 11 tells us that Abel brought the correct sacrifice to God because of his faith in Him. In other words, Abel believed God’s sacrificial ordinances and because of his belief, obeyed. Cain did the exact opposite because he had no faith in God.

Verses 5-6 tells us about Enoch and what occurred because of his belief in God through faith. We learn here that without faith, it is impossible to please God at all.

Verse 7 tells us of Noah who – because of his faith/belief in God – did as God said and built the ark, that was eventually used to save his family and the animals that God selected to essentially start over. Noah believed God and his belief in God compelled him to obey.

Verses 13 – 16 tell us of Abraham, who by faith (belief in God) did what God instructed. No one obeys God in the absence of true faith! Without faith, we can’t obey Him. But even with faith, we can choose to disobey and that, my friends, is called sin, something Christians will still do until they die.

Salvation starts and ends with faith; our ability to believe God, to take Him at His Word. The idea that we must continue to work to maintain our salvation is something that many cults teach.

Hebrews 10 is a chapter that speaks of the all-sufficiency of Christ’s atonement. The chapter compares the sacrificial system under the law, along with its inability to absolve us of our sin (it merely covered sin) to all time, with the fact that Jesus became the propitiation for our sin, for those who exercise faith in His atonement. Proof of this is seen in the fact that the priests before Jesus were always standing and working. There were no chairs to sit down because the priests’ work was never finished.

However, the work that Jesus completed on our behalf allowed Him to sit down at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Hebrews 10:12). The fact that He sat down speaks volumes. He was done. He had finished His work. Salvation through faith was now available to all who would come to Him.

Instead of the emphasis on what Jesus has done, many people today focus on what the Christian must do, in order to “maintain” their salvation. Because of this emphasis, many passages of Scripture are either completely overlooked or given new meaning.

Jude 24 states, “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” People get tripped up with the words “who is able” as though He is not able.

Romans 8:38-39 clearly states, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Here Paul does what he can to make known to us that nothing can remove us from God’s presence. He is speaking to believers at this juncture. He is assuring them that our salvation is secure. We need not fear that anything in life will remove us from relationship with Him. I have heard those who do not believe in eternal salvation add to this verse by essentially stating that the verse says nothing about the fact that we can use our “free will” to remove ourselves from Jesus. They are adding to the Scripture and essentially changing its meaning.

Paul could not possibly list everything that would try but fail to remove us from His presence, so he provides an overview for us. Simply because he does not include our “free will,” does not mean to imply that it is the exception to anything. It is actually included in Paul’s words – though not specifically stated – with the words “nor anything else in all creation.” Is free will part of God’s Creation? Of course it is and Paul could have simply said for these two verses “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” but chose to give some examples to elaborate on his meaning. In doing so, some people mistake Paul’s words thinking that what he specifically did not include, is the very thing that can remove us. Unfortunately, this line of thinking completely changes Paul’s intended meaning. Reading the entirety of Romans gives us the full picture.

In John 10:28-29, John states the following, which is very clear in intent and meaning.

“28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 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.”

Jesus is stating that He is the Author of eternal life and He is the One who gives it. Notice He also clearly states that no one will be able to steal that salvation away from us. Here again though, people come along and say, “Yeah, but the text doesn’t preclude my ‘free will’ from canceling it.” Actually, it does and it is for the same reason outlined in Romans 8:38-39. There is essentially no power that can come along and steal our salvation once that spiritual transaction has occurred (John 3).

We will be back with more Scripture next time including a look at the parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. Join us then.

Entry filed under: Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming.

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2 Comments

  • 1. applepie2go  |  May 4, 2015 at 8:22 AM

    I am wrestling with your post. I have a relative who in his 20’s was an ordained deacon in a Southern Baptist church; in his 30’s, married & with children, he got away from the faith, there were abandonment & infidelity issues on his part; he divorced his wife, married another, and hasn’t set foot in a church since. He is now in his 70’s. – – So you are saying that he can’t lose his salvation, just because he was “saved” as a teenager , but the past 30 or so years has led a rather hedonistic life???

    • 2. modres  |  May 4, 2015 at 9:44 AM

      IF the man was authentically saved – and neither you nor I can know for sure, can we? – then NO, he cannot lose his salvation.

      However, if we look at 1 John 2:19 (as only one example), the big question would be whether or not he is actually saved. John states very clearly: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if 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.

      Isn’t John then saying that because your relative LEFT the church completely, he was never really part of Christ’s Bride in the first place? While I think it’s possible to backslide for a while, eventually, God will bring that person back and I think that though this is not the main point of the Prodigal Son parable, it’s part of it. The focus of that parable is really on the everlasting love of the father.

      Ask yourself a couple of questions. First, can you see into your relative’s heart to know for sure whether he was actually ever saved? Second, John says that those who actually walk AWAY and STAY away never had salvation at all. Third, it could very well be that this man – IF authentically saved – WILL return to God. However, it is also more likely that God would remove the man from this life rather than let him live as a heathen for 30 years. Paul references this fact in 1 Corinthians 11 when he talks about the Lord’s Supper and the fact that God is not above taking a believer home “early” when they sin to the point that God knows they will not return.

      It is clear to me. There are many people who attend church today, sing in the choir, are appointed deacons, and some are even ministers! Yet, many of these people walk away. I know too many who spent years as pastors of churches and now consider themselves to be atheists. Clearly, we are seeing what John points out at work in their lives. These people – though they did all the things Christians are expected to do – never had the authentic spiritual transaction that Jesus speaks of to Nicodemus in John 3.

      These people may have even convinced themselves that they were truly saved. I know people like this and while I would not presume to judge their hearts, I can certainly see that their actions and/or words are far from the Lord. There are a few women in the church where I attend who do nothing but gossip and hold grudges. They stir up strife yet they are considered “pillars” of the church and community. Obviously, there is a huge disconnect.

      I also wonder what many people mean by being “saved”? How did your relative become “saved”? Did he pray the “sinner’s prayer,” which is not part of Scripture? Did he base his decision on the belief that a short prayer gave him salvation? A spiritual transaction occurs for the true believer at the moment of salvation. We become OWNED by Jesus and He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. If we can lose salvation, then He clearly cannot be the “perfecter” of our faith, can He?

      I think we are on solid ground if we understand John’s words to be the truth. A person who actually WALKS away from the faith was never part of the Bride of Christ in the first place. You have an obligation. You need to be praying for this man and you need to ask God to help you evangelize him.

      Thanks for writing. I have much more to say on this subject, so I hope you read upcoming sections and feel free to comment.


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