Last week’s blog gave an overview of what it means to be saved, and those that are truly saved cannot lose their salvation. This week I’m going to talk further about the most prominent objection to eternal security, and why it isn’t biblical.
The objection to the doctrine of eternal security, once saved always saved, is that many self-proclaimed Christians act one way in church or around other Christians, and act entirely differently in their day to day lives. Those who say salvation can be lost say that a Christian cannot live in the world and still be a Christian, so those who do have lost their salvation. And, there are those who profess Christ, and then reject Him and go back to their old worldly life style. Some are indulging in worldly acts because they think there is plenty of time to straighten up later, so have fun now. Surely they have lost their salvation. The key error in this position is wrongly assuming that the people above were saved to begin with. They weren’t.
Salvation requires a complete change in who and what you are. Old ways of life pass away, and a new way of life takes its place. Salvation is all inclusive. It takes in all aspects of a person’s life and thinking. No place is left for the worldly sins. Jesus said that to be truly saved you “shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself” ( Compare: Romans 1:24-32 with Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30-33; Luke 10:27-28). If you love God like that, there is no room to indulge in sin.
Salvation has three parts. First, you are saved from the guilt and penalty of sin by grace through faith ( Ephesians 2:8-10), because Jesus took on your guilt on the cross (John 3:16). Second, you are continually being saved from the habit and dominion of sin because Christians are under grace, not the law ( Romans 6:14). However, Paul continues, just because you as a Christian and are no longer subject to the guilt of and penalty for sin does not mean you can do whatever you want and still enter heaven, because whatever you serve, whatever is your idol, you are its servant. But true Christians are Christ’s servant (Romans 6:15-23). Christians do backslide from time to time, even if it’s just a little. That doesn’t cost them their salvation because God knows that’s just a temporary human failure, and the backsliders will repent and return to following Christ as completely as is humanly possible.
All created beings, either on earth or in the spirit world, are imperfect. If we were made perfect Adam and Eve would not have sinned and we would not need a Savior. Behavioral anomalies and glitches in our imperfect actions do not cost us our salvation. God wants all people to come to Him (John 3:16) but He chooses only those who He knows are truly following Him: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Those who are God’s own people lay aside all malice and worldly idols and actions and follow God’s commands ( 1Peter 2:1).
Those who are living in the world and not following Christ, who do not love Him completely, have never been Christians, they were never saved. Some want to be saved, but feel that there is plenty of time later to straighten up. Jesus told the parable of the 10 virgins to illustrate how these people were never saved. And, there may not be plenty of time. People die unexpectedly every day. Anyone could die today. You have no guarantee of tomorrow or even the next minute. Here’s the key point: those who are living in the world and are not ready to meet Jesus are not saved. They are following worldly idols. Jesus said “If anyone comes after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life will lose it; and whosoever will lose his [worldly] life for My sake will find it. For what is a man to be profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul? For the San of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works (Matthew 16:24-27).
The order of Christian life is first salvation, and then works ( Ephesians 2:8-10). We are not saved by works. They are the natural result of becoming a new person in Christ. I think it was Billy Graham who said living in a garage won’t make you an automobile. And, doing works won’t make you a Christian. Christ said, “Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works?’ And I will say to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me you who work iniquity’ ” ( Matthew 7:15-23). Even one of Jesus’ apostles, Judas, was never saved. Jesus chose him to fulfill the specific purpose of betraying the Messiah to the authorities (John 13:10,11).
So then, those who are truly saved cannot lose their salvation. Their new nature in Christ makes that impossible. But, those who are falsely professing Christ and think being a Christian is like joining a club, or who are still living in the world because their worldly idols take priority over loving and following Jesus, have never made a real commitment to Him and have never been saved: They can’t lose what they never had. The doctrine of eternal security, once saved always saved, is accurate. It’s true. Either a person is 100 percent Jesus’, or they were never saved. What about you? Are you living 100 percent for Christ? It’s time to take stock of what your priority is in life. And now is the time to do it, now is the time of salvation.