Salvation is given by God. Can we all agree on that? I didn't earn it. I don't deserve it. God would be perfectly just to judge me according to my sins BUT because He is loving and merciful, He has made salvation possible through the shed blood of His only Son. By believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus and by accepting Him as my Lord, I am saved (Romans 10:). End of story....
or is it? You see, there are some people who believe that, while salvation may be a free gift, we have to work to keep it. So even though some call it a “free” gift, they still believe it comes with a lifetime of conditions. We could be the most vile sinner ever and be saved, right? But once we're saved, we'd better become sinless or we will meet the same fate we faced before coming to Christ. Before I even get into the Scripture, let me say that something about that just doesn't sound right. Christ will forgive a wallowing pig but will condemn a dirty sheep? Hmm.
In my second post of this series, I talked about the transforming nature of salvation. When we become saved, we are a new creature. Our old selves are passed away and we are born new of the Spirit. That is the picture of salvation given in the Bible. If we believe that we could lose our salvation, it makes salvation seem more of a status – something that could change. It's like going to work for a new company; as long as we work there, we enjoy the benefits of our employment but we could be fired or we could leave and then we would be the same person we were before. In this light, salvation isn't transforming but, rather, is conditional.
If we can all agree that salvation is given by God, my next question would be to ask who is responsible for keeping our salvation? Those people who believe we can lose our salvation obviously believe it is up to individual believers to keep their salvation but I don't believe such an idea can be found in Scripture. Instead, I think the Bible is clear that God not only saves us be He keeps us. Consider the following verses:
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 1:7-8)
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. (Heb 7:25)
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: (Philippians 1:6)
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. (1Peter 1:3-5)
You can see from these verses that the same God who saved us also keeps us. We aren't kept by feeble works of the flesh any more than we were saved by feeble works of the flesh. How can we possibly reconcile the idea of losing our salvation with the idea that our salvation is kept by the power of God? Is God able to save us but not keep us?
Jesus Himself often testified that He keeps those that the Father gives Him.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at 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.... Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:39-40, 54)
The flesh and blood in this passage is a reference to the crucifixion, where Jesus give His life as an atonement for the sins of the world. By “eating” His flesh and “drinking” His blood, Jesus says we have eternal life and with that He makes another promise - “I will raise him up at the last day.” There is nothing about that verse that is ambiguous.
Our salvation is not a “one and done.” The sacrifice of Jesus didn't only forgive some of our sins – those committed before accepting Him. His blood covers all of our sins, those we have committed and those we will commit. This is expressed in several familiar passages but I believe some people don't grasp what is being said. David said, “mercy will follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6). John said, “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16).
I wasn't just forgiven once; I'm forgiven continuously. Every day is new mercy. Every day is new grace. Every day God pours out new blessings upon me, not because of my obedience but because of Christ's obedience. Am I so vain that I think I can obey God in my flesh? Is my opinion of Christ's sacrifice so small that I believe His blood will not cover my next sin? Will I rob God of His glory by claiming it is my works that keep my salvation and not Him? No, no, and no!
Read the entire series: