I recently wrote a post entitled Why I Believe You Can’t Lose Salvation. I received a couple of curt responses that I can’t stop thinking about. One was a reference to Revelation 3:15,16. The other simply said, “But you can.” I fully expected that someone would disagree with my arguments, but no one did. Just a couple of drop the mic responses. It was these types of responses to the subject that moved me to write the initial post. They have a hold of me and I can’t shake free.
Something about this doesn’t feel right. I’ve wrestled with what about it bothers me, and here’s what I’ve come up with. I think it’s because those who say you can lose your salvation say it so smugly. They say it not with the due fear and humility of one who could lose it themselves. If they are right, then they have no security either. They have no confidence with which to speak so indifferently about the salvation of others. No, there’s something wrong here. This is not the tone I expect from someone who has been saved by grace— one who HAD TO BE saved by grace. This is odd indeed from someone who has received an offer of life by faith and that life is still in the balance based on the choices he will make.
It is with great joy that I proclaim to those who were enslaved to sin that they can find eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is also with great confidence in Christ and the promises of God the Father that I assure them that Jesus paid it all; that there will be no more for them to pay— never, ever again. That’s the nature of paying IT ALL. But even that confidence is shaken sometimes by the reality of my sinfulness and I find myself echoing the words of the humbled father, “I believe. Lord help my unbelief.” I must again and again count on the finished work of Christ. His work alone will lead me home.
It seems inconceivable that Christ would give his life for someone, offer them life eternal, make them a new creation, and watch that person, because of sin, willingly leap from the same hand that He will not let any “other” pluck them from. No, that does not sound right. Especially coming from those who believe they have the freedom to leave His hand, but choose not to— choose not to lose their salvation. They say that no one will be able to pluck you out of his hand, but that it doesn’t say you can’t leave on your own. No, that doesn’t sound right to me. It seems more reasonable that He didn’t say it, because it wasn’t necessary.
They are right about one thing though. There are many warning passages in the bible. And for all those who genuinely struggle with such passages, I offer this understanding. Know that, with a few exceptions, the many books of the bible are written to the community of believers and not the individual believer. The community, as with Israel in the Old Testament, is made up of both the faithful and the unfaithful. As Paul put it, “not all Israel is Israel.” In the same way, not all the church is the church. Within the larger community there is always a smaller remnant. And God knows the difference. He is able to keep the faithful and warn the unfaithful. This truth can be seen in Elijah’s day when God reminded Elijah, that He had kept for himself 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. So you see, those dire warnings will prove true for some, but not for the faithful. Jesus promised He would not lose even one of them.
I hope that once saved always saved is true. I need it to be true, though I know how that sounds. If you can lose your salvation, I would be that guy. I must count on Jesus and Him alone to keep me despite myself. I have to keep reminding myself that what He said about me is true. I know all too well how desperately sinful I am. So I have placed all my eggs in Jesus’ basket.
If the often used picture proves accurate, and the Lord asks me why He should let me into His Kingdom, I dare not say because I kept what Jesus gave me. I don’t trust myself that much. If the answer that Jesus saved me and preserved me, and by Him my trespasses are not counted against me, is found insufficient, then I am doomed and I know it. But if I must count on my own efforts to finish what the Lord has begun, then I’m doomed already. So, I think I’ll stick with Jesus.