Secure in Salvation?
Jesus is my Savior; in Him I am saved. My belief and faith are in Him.
This idea of security in salvation seems to be a battleground of sorts as different camps argue their ideas on the matter. Some insist that once someone is saved, they are forever saved, regardless of circumstances. Some argue that other things need to be done on our part, basically to hang onto that salvation, or live up to it. Some would say that our salvation can be lost just as the Spirit left Samson and he was unaware that it even happened. And there is more, and there are combinations of these.
As always, this study will be centered on what the Word of God declares on the matter. Let’s begin with the quintessential salvation verse, John 3:16, the words of Jesus.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved
through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John 3:14-18 ESV
Let’s look at a few things in this passage of five verses.
- Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness
- Numbers 21 relays the story of many Israelites dying due to being bitten by serpents
- God instructed Moses to make a serpent and put it on a pole
- Those who were bitten, and who looked upon it, lived
- This was a preview of Christ Jesus on the Cross
- The Son of Man must likewise be lifted up
- “That whoever believes in Him may have eternal life”
- It is the love of God that provided the Son for our salvation
- “That whoever believes in Him should not perish”
- The second death has no power over them
- “but have eternal life”
- The life is eternal
- Strong’s Greek #166, aiónios
- Definition: agelong, eternal
- Usage: agelong, and therefore: practically eternal, unending
- “That whoever believes in Him should not perish”
- Jesus, the Son, was not sent to condemn the world, mankind
- Jesus was sent to save us from the penalty of sin; the second death
- Whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned
- This belief is not head knowledge, rather, it is from our innermost being
- The whoever receives salvation, not condemnation
- Whoever does not believe in Jesus is condemned already
- We all begin in the state of condemnation; subject to the second death and the lake of fire
- Jesus is our deliverance out of that fate
- The condemnation is because one has not believed in the name of the only Son of God
What we see are two possibilities and their corresponding eternities.
- Believing or not believing
- New life or the second death
The idea of salvation is pretty straight forward; believing and not believing. There is no other choice, and there is not an in between place. We are either believing, or we are not. Being undecided is the same as not believing. To believe is a specific action to be undertaken.
But what of security in salvation? Can one lose that salvation?
If that question comes from fear, that is not good. Fear is a reflection of a lack of faith. Fear is the wrong side of the coin to be on.
If that question comes from an inner need to know, or for clarification from a teaching someone presented, that is good. Study the matter and discover truth.
To lose one’s salvation in the sense of simply losing a possession (i.e. keys, wallet, phone) does not appear to be something we need worry about. Salvation is not a physical item that can be lost. God’s promise is eternal life. It won’t just slip away. Do we believe God’s promises?
“God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?”
Numbers 23:19 ESV
We first need to determine in our heart whether or not we believe God. Believing God is one thing, but trusting Him in faith is another. Let’s review what I have been saying about faith as a working definition of faith. It is to:
- Believe that God is who He says He is (episode 30)
- Believe that I am who God says I am (episode 16)
- Believe that God will do what He says He will do
All three parts are important, but for this study the third part is the most important. Do we truly believe that God will keep His word and do what He said He will do? Can we operate in faith from that point, trusting in the Word of God? (The Word being Jesus, and being Scripture.) Jesus is our salvation, and the Scripture instructs us on the promises of God.
I would like to move forward with the assumption that whoever continues with me has received the gift of salvation, having heard the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of salvation. That is, as was stated above in the passage from John, that Jesus was sent to save the world. By His death on the cross, the shedding of His blood paid for the penalty of sin that was due to each one of us. He took it upon Himself and paid our debt, restoring us in the loving relationship with God that we had lost through sinfulness. The promise of God being eternal life for those who believe in the name of Christ Jesus.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
John 10:27-28 ESV
- Do I hear God
- This does not necessarily mean with my ears, but in my spirit
- The still, small voice of Holy Spirit at times
- Do I follow Jesus
- Am I fostering a relationship with God? (episode 41)
- Am I walking in obedience in love? (episode 24)
- Jesus gives me eternal life
- Eternal life, not some portion of it
- Having eternal life, Jesus says, I “will never perish”
- No one can snatch me out of His hand
- I have become His possession
- There is no one more powerful than Him
Remember, this begins because of the love of God. The apostle Paul writes that we cannot be separated from the love of God.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us
all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right
hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As
it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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.
Romans 8:31-39 ESV
He lists all areas of concern, and none of them, Paul says, can separate us from the love of God.
- Things Physical: death or life
- Things Spiritual: angels or rulers
- Time and Timing: things present or things to come
- Authorities: powers
- Magnitude, Physical or Perceived: height or depth
And in case one could come up with something that does not fall into those categories, he adds, “nor anything else in all creation.”
Based on that passage I believe the enemy cannot possibly separate me from the love of God or from the salvation God has given to me.
Christ Jesus is all powerful and watching over me; ever in intercession for me as the author of Hebrews writes.
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but He holds His priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently,
He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 7:23-25 ESV
What were the points in that passage of Scripture?
- Former priests had to face death
- Jesus, our high priest, continues in office forever – permanently
- Jesus already faced death and arose to power
- Jesus is able to save to the uttermost
- Uttermost: utmost, extreme, the most possible, the extreme limit
- Those who draw near to God through Jesus
- Jesus is the way, the narrow gate through which we enter into the presence of God
- Jesus always makes intercession for us
- Jesus is aware of all in our lives and makes it known to the Father, praying for us always
Blessed be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the
1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV
It’s an interesting phrase in that verse that says, “He caused us to be born again.”
- Caused us to be born again
- Strong’s Greek #313, anagennaó
- Definition: to beget again
- Usage: I beget again, beget into a new life
- Beget means to procreate as the father (to sire)
- Strong’s Greek #313, anagennaó
From our first birth into the world, our body is proceeding on the road to death. Aside from the Lord taking us out of the world, death is the inevitable result for each of us in the flesh. When we are caused to be born again, or beget into new life, we are born of God, which is a spiritual birth. And we saw in the previous study, Destination Heaven?, that those who share in the first resurrection are not subject to the second death. (Revelation 20:5-7) Who takes part in the first resurrection?
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the
word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their forehead or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand
Revelation 4:20 ESV
Here are the groups of people in that verse:
- Those were given authority to judge and to be seated on the thrones
- Those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God
- Those who had not worshiped the beast or its image
- Those who had not received the mark of the beast in their forehead or their hands
Over such, the second death has no power. In other words, those people will not be cast into the lake of fire.
We have the certainty of God’s promises, as explained by the author of Hebrews.
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently
waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more
convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie,
we who have fled for refuge might have a strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the
inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 6:13-20 ESV
Jesus became our high priest and went on ahead of us into the holy of holies, and the presence of God.
It is impossible for God to lie because He is truth. His promises are secured in His person and character. By nature of being God, He speaks forth truth. God, being the Creator of all things seen and unseen, determines and speaks forth truth, and therefore, it is impossible for Him to lie. His promises, then, will be, and must be, carried out.
So we come back to this: do we believe that God will do what He says He will do? God will do what He says He will do, whether we choose to believe it or not. The question is, do we believe it.
Knowing that God is true, those who believe “have a strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” That hope is eternal life. It is not hope as in wishful thinking, but as an earnest expectation.
- Strong’s Greek #1680, elpis
- Definition: expectation, hope
- Usage: hope, expectation, trust, confidence
This hope is “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” Those who believe can stand on the promises of God, securely anchored in the surety of those promises being fulfilled. The “two unchangeable things” are God’s promise and God’s oath. Just as Abraham believed God (Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23), and it was counted to him as righteousness, those who believe, we who believe, can stand on that same assurance that God’s promises to us, namely, eternal life, will be fulfilled by Him. Jesus, our salvation, is the anchor for our souls. Jesus went into the Holy of Holies, as our high priest, and made the sacrifice of atonement for us who believe. Our soul is anchored to Jesus in the heavenlies, and Jesus stands guard over it.
Our inheritance is eternal life, and it is secured in Christ Jesus. We saw in the 1 Peter passage above that we have “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.”
- Imperishable: #862: undecaying: indestructible, incorruptible, hence – immortal
- Undefiled: #283: untainted, free from contamination
- Unfading: #263: enduring
We also saw that the inheritance is “kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith.” If it is being kept in heaven, it is where moths and rust cannot corrupt it, and where the thief cannot break in to steal it.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:19-20 ESV
“Being kept in heaven for you, who” is catchy. Is it talking about the inheritance or the believer? The inheritance is being kept in heaven, the who is you, or the believer. So, “you, who” what? “Who by God’s power are being guarded.” Is there a better place to be? Is there a stronger situation? We who believe, we who have our inheritance secured in heaven, are being guarded under the power of God. The verse goes on to state we are being guarded by His power “through faith.” Do we believe God will do what He says He will do? And it is being guarded “for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” We should rejoice in this. I believe this is the bedrock of faith by which we can operate in the works of the kingdom as we are called to do by Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
If you don’t believe beyond a doubt that you have eternal life through Christ Jesus, do you really have it? Perhaps doubts exist from time to time due to circumstances or deceptions. But that is when our spirit needs to truly rule over our body and soul and say, “NO! Let God be true, though every man were a liar.” We need to know the truth and believe the truth. But I also believe there are many who dabble at church and the Christian life thinking they have that inheritance of salvation, but really don’t. We see this in the words of Jesus.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not
prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
That is a scary verse. We must make sure of our salvation, developing an intimate relationship with God; Father, Son, Holy Spirit. That passage does not describe someone who lost their salvation; it describes some who never received the gift from God, but acted as though they had. The apostle John echoes this in his first epistle.
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. But you
have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
1 John 2:19-20 ESV
Some people have trouble believing that someone who looked the part of the faithful Christian may have never been a Christian at all. Surely they must be backslidden, or worse, have lost their salvation. I think most, if not all of us, hit a spot in their walk of faith where things are dry, and doubts arise. Some of us may even revert to old ways for a time. For a believer it is like a desert place, a walk in the wilderness searching for something of hope. Is backsliding a real thing? I think it is, but not to the point of losing one’s salvation. When someone turns away completely, the question needs to be asked, “Was the person really ever of us? Was there a real salvation experience?” How real can their walk look, even when the truth is not with them? Jesus spoke of this in the parable of the weeds, or tares.
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed
weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did
you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he
said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and
bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
Matthew 13:24-30 ESV
Jesus explained the parable to His disciples.
Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the
Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the
age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His
kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom
of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Matthew 13:36-43 ESV
First let’s understand the wheat and the weeds, or tares in some translations. Wheat represents the good seed sowed in the good soil producing good fruit. The weeds represent the evil seed in other than good soil producing no good fruit. Holy Spirit may be nudging you right now of verses in Matthew 7, saying, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” The fruit, however, comes at the end stage of the growth. So, in the meantime, the weeds are hardly discernable from the wheat.
The belief is that the wheat-like weed was probably darnel. Darnel is also known as tare, or poison ryegrass. It is a noxious weed of the ryegrass, meaning, it is harmful to living things; it is toxic. (Britannica.com)
This practice of vengeance, sowing weeds in the field of another, was common enough that the Romans found it necessary to create laws against it. No doubt the audience of Jesus understood fully what it was that He was telling them. Darnel was used by an enemy who sought to destroy, or greatly reduce, someone’s harvest. The darnel and the wheat were almost indistinguishable until the time of the grain, or fruit, becoming visible.
Due to the intertangled root systems, the darnel was allowed to grow up alongside the wheat until the wheat was matured and ready to be harvested. The wheat and the harvest would not experience the damage that would occur had the weeds been pulled out of the field. The wheat still matured.
Jesus said, “The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil.” The weeds looked just like the wheat, of which Jesus said, “the good seed is the sons of the kingdom.” They appear the same for quite some time; this is the deception. Think of Judas among the other eleven. They knew nothing of his true character. He went where they went, did what they did, heard what they heard. Up to the time of betrayal they knew nothing. When Jesus mentioned that one of them would betray them, they were sorrowful and they asked, “Is it I?” (Mark 14:19) Jesus alone knew who it was who would betray Him. (John 13:11)
We tend to think that those whom we believed were Christians and now aren’t, must have lost their faith and their salvation. We struggle to believe, because of what we have seen and experienced, that those who fall away were weeds all along. Some very emotional arguments can erupt from this idea. We need to remember that only God can judge the heart of a person; we see the results. Pride can raise up within us with a protest of we weren’t deceived along the way.
What if the person was your mentor? What if the person was recognized as prophetic in the local community? What if the person engaged in a sinful lifestyle?
We tend to see the sin as that which caused the person to stumble. What if the sin was the fruit; that which was in the seed? And what if the destruction of a ministry and a family were the byproducts of the fruit? The disgrace to the community, the tale being told, would damage the character of the community in the eyes of some. Exactly what the enemy would want to have happen. The fruit is in the seed.
We think the weed is always going to be someone else; not the one that I know of. Is it really more comforting to think someone lost their salvation than to think they never truly had it to begin with? The idea of losing one’s salvation promotes fear and discomfort within the body. Jesus and the apostles let us know that these things would happen among us. This is a subtle form of deception and evil. Evil is not always belligerent and in your face. It will still end up in the lake of fire if it is evil seed. If it is good seed, repentance for the behavior will soon follow, and the person will not continue down the road of evil.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who
works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV
We are not to work to earn our salvation, which has already been given to us as a gift. We are to work it out, meaning to show it forth and to grow in it. With respect and understanding of who God is, we are to live in obedience in love, living to please God who loves us and watches over us.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 10:28 ESV
God is worthy of the respect and honor due Him. Though God is loving and welcomes us into a personal relationship with Him, He is still the Almighty, the Creator of all things seen and unseen. He is the One who will separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the weeds, and determine our final destination.
No matter how someone wants to twist it, our salvation is in Christ Jesus, who was sent by the Father to gather us unto Himself. We are saved solely by our faith in Him. Paul tells us very clearly that we are saved by grace, through faith.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved –
and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in
Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV
Our salvation comes from God. That salvation is our inheritance, held for us by God in heaven. That inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. And we are being guarded by God’s power for that salvation ( Peter 1:3-5). We also saw that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). It is by faith that we receive the gift of salvation from God. It is also by faith that God holds us that we may see the end result of that salvation, eternal life. If we move to anything other than faith concerning our salvation, we are moving into deception. Paul warned the believers at Galatia of this very thing.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the
law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain – if indeed it was in vain? Does He
who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith – just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as
righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to
Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Galatians 3:1-9 ESV
Paul goes on to explain that “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse” and reaffirms we are to live by faith. The believers in Galatia were being hoodwinked into believing they now had to fulfill and live by the law. Paul was reminding them that their journey began by faith, and so it was to continue in faith and come to conclusion with that faith intact. It is not a matter of the law, nor is it practicing a religion; it is faith in Christ. Jesus is the founder and the perfecter of our faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set
before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the
throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
The apostle Paul acknowledges the promise is in Christ in his introduction of his second letter to Timothy.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:1 ESV
The life, eternal life, is in Christ Jesus. And Paul continues, referring to Christ Jesus:
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.
2 Timothy 1:12b ESV
Paul told Timothy that the gospel “has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).
It is God who saves us. It is God who calls us to a holy calling. It is God who guards us until that day, that last day of this life. It is God who holds our salvation secure for us. It is all by faith and not by anything else that we can do.
If, however, we trust in our own strength to guard our salvation, there is a high risk of failure. For as Paul spoke to the Galatians, are we so foolish to think that what began with us in the spirit by faith, we can carry out by will in the flesh? When the focus is shifted from Jesus to self, we are in a dangerous place. And salvation rooted in self is no salvation at all. It is impossible for us to save ourselves from the penalty for our sinfulness.
It appears that it is possible for us to shrink back from our faith. The possibility of doing so would add all the more importance to our focus remaining on Christ Jesus, not on self.
The author of Hebrews tells of the full assurance of faith, but follows it with warnings for those who go on deliberately sinning.
This is the assurance of faith:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies
washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good
works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV
Concerning this assurance of faith:
- We must have confidence in the sacrifice of Jesus, the blood of the Lamb
- Through the offering of Himself, His body, He opened a way for us
- Jesus is a great priest over the house of God
- We can draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith
- Our hearts cleansed of an evil conscience
- Our bodies washed with pure water
- We are to hold fast to confession of our hope without wavering
- That hope being eternal life – our expectation
- We are to know that Jesus, who made the promise , is faithful
- We are to stir up one another to love and good works
- We are to continue to meet together, encouraging one another
- We are to increase in these as we draw near to the end of the age
Doing these things we draw near to God. Continuously doing these things, our faith is increased. These are the things to do rather than continuing in deliberate sin. We are to strive to turn one another from our sinful ways to the ways of the Lord.
The warnings for those who continue to deliberately sin:
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will
consume the adversaries.
Hebrews 10:26-27 ESV
There is a choice to be made. Do we go on sinning deliberately, or do we acknowledge the knowledge of the truth that has been shared with us? If we choose to deliberately continue sinning, there is no longer a remedy for our sinfulness; no more sacrifice for our sins. Willfully remaining in sin after hearing and understanding the gospel, leaves no other avenue for salvation. All that remains is the fear of judgment and the lake of fire.
Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has
trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 10:28-29 ESV
When under the law of Moses, one could be convicted, even put to death if the crime called for it, by the testimony of two or three witnesses. This passage asks us to consider how much worse the punishment would be, if having heard and understood the good news of the gospel, the sacrifice of Jesus and the gift of salvation, it is rejected. But even more, those who have received the good news and the gift of salvation, then cast it aside as though it were of no value. I see the parable of the soils here.
And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to Him, He said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was
trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns
grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As He said these things, He called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Luke 8:4-8 ESV
I see the thorny soil in this situation. In verses 11-15, Jesus explains the parable. The explanation of the thorny soil is, “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” (verse 14) Those in this category will have the worse conviction for they have heard and known the promise of God and have turned away from it after having a level of experience in it. They knowingly reject Christ for the ways of the world. They have counted it as worthless, scorning it and kicking it into the gutter.
The passage in Hebrews says that person “has outraged the Spirit of grace”, that being the Holy Spirit.
- Strong’s Greek #1796, enubrizó
- Definition: to insult
- Usage: insult, outrage, treat contemptuously, mock at
It is no small thing to have tasted the goodness of God and spit it out.
We also see the phrase, “and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified.” What is it to be sanctified? To sanctify is to set apart to a sacred purpose as in being consecrated. It also has a meaning to free from sin, as to purify. Jesus sanctified Himself in the high priestly prayer to the Father.
“And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
John 17:19 ESV
The “they” He wished to be sanctified were His disciples who were being sent out into the world. Those disciples, as well as any since then, including today, were purified by the blood shed by Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. That is the blood covenant referred to in the passage in Hebrews. That is the beginning of a process of sanctification, or purification, that continues through our lifetime journey on this earth. To think so little of the blood shed by Christ, that after having had such understanding it is cast aside, insults, mocks, and outrages Holy Spirit, and I am certain the Son and the Father as well.
Those people did not simply lose their salvation. They rejected it outright. They cast it aside. They made it clear that they wanted nothing to do with it. What makes this worse than those of the pathway or the stoney ground is that they had a full and clear understanding, and having begun on the road to their inheritance, eternal life, they rejected it with full knowledge of what they were doing. They willingly chose not to continue.
There is a similar account in the second letter of Peter.
For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves
are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
2 Peter 2:18-19 ESV
I see in this description someone who has decided to leave a sinful lifestyle and has chosen to follow Christ. Those who were left behind work to lure the person back into the sinful ways. The promises of pleasure and freedom are working upon the soul of the person who desired the change. The slaves to that sin are trying to pull back the one who found freedom in Christ.
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has
become worse for them than the first.
2 Peter 2:20 ESV
As we discovered in the passage in Hebrews, the penalty due from sin is worse for the one who has tasted freedom in deliverance from it through Christ Jesus and the gospel, than it is for the one who has not tasted that freedom.
For it would be better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
2 Peter 2:21 ESV
There are levels in both rewards and punishments. For example, levels of sin may be:
- Sin committed without realizing it
- Sin committed inadvertently
- Sin committed with knowledge of the law, regretted, and repented of
- Sin committed again after having received forgiveness
- Sin committed with knowledge of the law and not regretted
- Sin committed as a lifestyle
- Sin committed in direct action disregarding the law, mocking it
As the intention of sin ramps up, and as the knowledge of forgiveness and the grace of God is experienced or made known, the level of accountability for one’s actions rises as well. The higher accountability demands a higher payment due for the sin committed.
What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
2 Peter 2:22 ESV
The sin that is returned to is filthier and more offensive because the truth of the matter has been made known, and the decision was still made to go the way of sin and the second death rather than receive the gift of eternal life. There is great sadness for those who are so deceived into thinking it better to return to a sinful lifestyle than to enjoy the presence of God and the company of the Lord.
Let’s summarize what cannot take place for those who believe in the name of Jesus, who having surrendered their lives to Him, and have received the promise of eternal life.
- I cannot merely lose my salvation as one would lose a physical object.
- The enemy cannot separate me from the love of God and His promises to me.
- The enemy cannot snatch me out of the hand of God.
- The second death has no power over those in the first resurrection.
However, as we have just learned together, there are times when someone decides to throw away the gift, return to the evil ways, and suffer more greatly for the sins and choices made.
I do believe we have a free will that is limited by our decisions and actions. I see it like this:
- I have the free will to decide whether or not I will accept the free gift of salvation offered by Christ Jesus
- I have the free will to choose whether or not I will live a life of obedience in love
The matter of salvation is the first issue. What I do with it is the second. I pray regularly that if I were to be approaching a point of turning back, that the Lord would have mercy upon me and take my life before it happened.
This study shows the importance of good discipleship and fellowship with other believers. It is important to join together, and to not be picked off one by one, thinking we can go it alone and overcome. We are the body of Christ, knit together as one.
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Romans 12:4-5 ESV
Read 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, for more on the idea of being many, yet we are one.
The disciple of Jesus Christ needs to know and to stand upon the promises of God. Disciples need to stand together and build one another up. This has been the idea of this podcast and these studies. We are to strengthen our faith, strengthen one another, and thereby strengthen the body as a whole.
Because of this, I can say that my salvation is secure because my trust in it is in Christ Jesus, not in myself. I cannot simply lose it. I have no intention of turning away from it. I rely on God to see me through to the end.
I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
God began the work of our salvation as Holy Spirit gave us the faith to believe when the Father was drawing us to the Son. The Godhead was at work, desiring to restore the intimate, loving relationship that was lost on our part when sin entered the world. God will finish the work He began. Those who believe will see His salvation.
Read through Psalm 91. It tells of the believer who trusts in God for protection, described in subtitle as, Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord. In verses 14 through 16 we see these phrases on God’s part:
- I will deliver him
- I will set him securely on high
- I will answer him
- I will be with him in trouble
- I will rescue him and honor him
- With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation
There is no need for doubts if we trust God to finish the work He began. We should have perfect peace if we are pursuing God and walking with Him.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
This passage helps us to know that God hears our prayers and that He will comfort us with His peace. It also tells us that His peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
John 14:23 ESV
Jesus tells us of the intimate relationship He and the Father will have with those who love Him. Jesus prayed for us. He prayed that we would experience that unity that He and the Father have. He also asked the Father to keep us. I believe the prayers of Jesus are always answered.
“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no
longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,”
John 17:9-11, 20 ESV
What we need to see in Scripture is that it is all in God’s hands. It is all by the love and power of God that we are secure in Christ. We need to see the direction of our security: it is all from God to us as believers.
Once again, I do not believe we can simply lose our salvation, nor is it revoked as we slip up in occasional sin for which we can repent. I do believe there are those who are apostate, who for whatever reason have consciously turned aside from the faith, revoking their gift of eternal life with its rewards and inheritance. I believe God securely holds my salvation, kept in heaven in Christ Jesus.
We finish with the words of Paul to Timothy.
But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord
will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
2 Timothy 4:17-18 ESV