Not long ago I had offered some friends a gospel message which included a list of scripture to support what I had been discussing with them. I was encouraged by our initial conversation and was hopeful they would pursue things further. I received back a very nice message from one of them mentioning she had been saved a couple times and had also been baptized as a child. I don’t think she was telling me to buzz off, but I think she was telling me that she had this one covered.
So I was thinking how these pieces came together in my mind about what it means to truly be redeemed. There are differing views on salvation and whether one can lose it once it’s been obtained. This is not a quick little topic to discuss on a blog and requires a considerable amount of study, but I think most importantly it means understanding some basic items about Christianity and saving faith.
I don’t believe one can lose their salvation but there is a “but” that comes after that.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Scripture is replete with support for what some refer to as eternal security but I really like this verse because this tells us so much about God’s working in the life of a believer. Believers have been redeemed, they have been purchased for His glory and they have been sealed with a guarantee.
The Greek word translated “guarantee” is (arrhabōn) Of Hebrew origin [H6162]; a pledge, that is, part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest: – earnest.
I am convinced that the confusion on this matter does not come from the scriptural support of the promise, but from a lack of understanding of what it really means to be saved. That’s the “but”. When a false conversion occurs and then that person wanders from the truth or “backslides” they were never truly converted.
The problem is not with God’s work. His work is sufficient to save and to sanctify; in fact it’s the only hope. The problem is the weakness of the preaching and gospel clarity. When someone comes to Christ cheaply they leave easily. If they are moved emotionally by a sermon, a song or in a moment of weakness they won’t see their sin for what it really is. When they don’t understand their sin is an abomination to God and they think they’re not “that bad”, they won’t understand their helpless state. They won’t see what it cost Christ to bear the wrath of the Father.
This is the problem.
Of course you can lose your salvation when you’ve never been saved. Paul tells us in Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
He will complete what He started, but if he didn’t start it then it won’t be finished.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Doesn’t this describe people you know? They seemed to be with us for a while then something became too challenging for them or too boring or too whatever…
Did not the Lord speak of these in the parable of the soils? Can you see how this all fits nicely together, like a wonderful and beautiful jigsaw puzzle? When we understand how salvation occurs and why people fall away it’s easy to see they were never saved.
Mark 4:13-20 And He said to them. “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the care of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.
So here is a big question for you? Are you producing fruit? Are you growing in holiness, in knowledge of Christ, in desire for the things of God? Are you preaching the gospel of peace to those at enmity with God?
Are you proving your salvation through your actions?
Matthew 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Here’s what it comes down to.
Many will show some evidence of salvation, but those that continue in the faith will prove their salvation over a lifetime. Do you know when you were saved? Consider this from Leonard Ravenhill – I ask, “Are you really saved?” and you say, “I don’t really know.” Oh, supposing you carry a 100 lb sack on your back, and someone takes the sack off your back and you climb up to the top of the hill, and a man says, “Have you lost your sack?” And you say, “I don’t really know.” It seems that someone would know when someone else took 100 lbs off his back. said if you were climbing up a hill with a hundred pound sack and someone removed it, wouldn’t you know when that happened?
This is a great start to understanding you eternal security, “if” you’ve been saved.
I would encourage you to watch this short video from Leonard Ravenhill.