Saturday, November 14, 2015

God Assures Salvation

Will someone who believes in Jesus ever lose his faith and salvation?

No, he will not.

(In an attempt to be methodical with this thesis as much as I can, I will be delivering my analysis of it in a numbered point-by-point outline.)

1.) The Real Meaning of “Believe”

First and foremost, let’s make it clear that the term “believe” in this context doesn’t mean mere acknowledgment of the historical existence of Jesus.  Moreover, to “believe” is also NOT the mere utterance of the words “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior” because one is “caught in the moment” (like, in an emotionally charged crusade); or because declaring it is something expected from him – a tradition,  a rite of passage – since he grew up in a Christian environment; or because of wrong expectations, to gain benefits – material blessings, problem-free life, etc. – that he thinks he will receive if he just “believes” in Jesus.

The word “believe” here should mean a genuine profession of faith in Jesus, as a result of a legitimate Spirit-convicted born-again moment.  It means that he believes in Jesus because of an actual, intimate encounter.

2.) Faith, Works, and Salvation

It is clear in the Bible that we aren’t saved by our works (Titus 3:5), but only by God’s grace through faith (Eph. 2:8).  However, the proof that faith is genuine is works (James 2:14-25).  Thus, the indicator that one is truly saved is the fact that he conforms to God's Word and pursues a holy life (Heb. 12:14, Gal. 5:19-21, etc.).

However, there is no verse in the Bible that would support an assertion that works are required to keep salvation.  In fact, asserting that works are required in keeping one’s salvation is as dangerously erroneous as asserting that works are required to acquire salvation!

True, it is said in Philippians 2:12, to “work out your salvation with fear in trembling.”  But it’s simply another affirmation that works are simply the evidence of genuine faith.  Take note that it says work out, NOT work for.  Hence, works are the application of salvation, and salvation is not an outcome of works.

3.) The Bible Affirms That God's Elect Won't Ever Lose Their Salvation… Because It Is God Himself Who Preserves It!

Furthermore, after Philippians 2:12, it is continued in verse 13 that it is God Himself who “works in you to will and to act”!  If it’s solely up to us to keep and work out our faith, then we will surely fail.  But it is God Himself who sees to it that we succeed.  Thus, salvation couldn’t possibly be lost if the sovereign God Himself guarantees it.

Jude 1:24 says that He will “keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.”  He will keep us from stumbling, and will eventually perfect us (see also Philippians 1:6).

Hebrews 7:25 states, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”  Christ Himself is interceding on our behalf for us to be saved completely (see also John 17).

John 10:28-29 states, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” There is no one or nothing powerful enough to take us away from God and make us lose our salvation.  Romans 8:38-39 further collaborates, “For I am convinced that 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, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:30 clinches, by declaring God’s series of labors on a Christian’s life: “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”  There is no mention of absolute removal in that chain.  Right from the very beginning – from even before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) – God has guaranteed the salvation of His chosen.  Salvation can never be lost.

4.) It All Comes Down to Genuine Belief

Why then some “Christians” fall away from the faith?  Simple.  Their profession was counterfeit in the first place.  John 2:19 says, “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 it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

Scripture has provided ample verses to serve as a checklist in evaluating the authenticity of one’s belief in Jesus (as 2 Cor. 13:5 asks us to do). 

1 John 3:9-10 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

The Parable of the Sower in Luke 8:5–15 also illustrates the different kinds of people that hear the Gospel, and one of these is “those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.”  So there are professing “Christians” whose faith appears to be authentic at first, but it has in fact never been so – “it has no root.”  Those who are sincere in their belief in Jesus are the good soil (v.15).  And those who fall away in the faith didn’t genuinely believe in Jesus in the first place.  For if they did, they would have heeded the Word of God (John 8:47).

Lastly, 2 Cor. 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  So if someone says he “believes in Jesus” but doesn’t live as a “new creation”, then the conclusion is simple: his profession is fake and he’s not in Christ in the first place.

5.) God Restores

Again, if a “Christian” falls away from the faith, then his initial profession was false.  However, if he’s actually one of God’s lost children, God’s elect, then it will not end with him not completely knowing Jesus.  God will work to restore him (James 5:20, Acts 3:19-21, Galatians 6:1), and on the next time he professes his belief on Jesus, it would be then genuine.

In short, there is hope for “backsliders.”  The avenue of repentance and restoration is always a possibility.

6.) Be Forever Thankful for God’s Salvation

We might not fully grasp or completely err in our understanding of how our salvation came to be, but we aren’t saved because of this.  It is Jesus who ultimately secures our faith and salvation – 100% His work.  Thus, we should be eternally grateful to Him by living out this salvation everyday with works that will glorify Him.  

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