Can Salvation be Lost? Part 5
Salvation is Not Just a Fire Escape
We have covered a lot of ground in looking at salvation. The Scripture plainly teaches us that we were sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, separated from a holy God and completely unable to do anything about it on our own. As Paul said, we had no hope and were without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). But thank God that Romans 5:8 tells us: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It is the fact that "He (God the Father), made Him who knew no sin (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, that we (the believing sinner) might become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21). Salvation is of the Lord from start to finish. He planned it and is carrying out that plan in the hearts of men and women today. And God's plans never fail.
I. Salvation Includes Many Things
We have already covered the fact that salvation is more than just the forgiveness of sins. It is more than just a fire escape to get us out of Hell. It includes all that God is doing in and through us. Some of these are
1. Regeneration- Being given new life in Christ. (Titus 3:5)
2. Justification- Being declared righteous by a Holy God. (Romans 5:1)
3. Sanctification- God's work of making us holy. He is conforming us to the image of Christ. (Hebrews 10:10; I Corinthians 1:2; John 17:17; I Thessalonians 5:23)
4. Baptism into the Body of Christ- This is the supernatural work of the Spirit whereby we become members of the Universal Church which includes everyone in this age of Grace who places their faith in Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 12:13)
5. Sonship- We become sons and daughters of the living God. ( I John 3:2; Hebrews 12:6,7)
6. Sealed by the Holy Spirit- He is the down payment guaranteeing that God will complete the work of salvation. (Ephesians 1:13,14; Ephesians 4:30)
7. We have a Great High Priest- Scripture says that Christ ever lives to make intercession on our behalf. (Hebrews 7:24,25)
These things do not cover everything that happens to a believer in Jesus Christ. They are only a sample of what salvation includes. But you can see that sin cannot reverse these things. When a believer sins, God deals with that person the way a father deals with a son. He doesn't cast him out but corrects him (Hebrews 12:5-11).
II. Salvation is Past, Present and Future
According to John 5:24, eternal life does not begin when the Christian dies, but the moment a sinner believes in Christ. The very definition of "eternal life" is that it never ceases. It is endless. And that is what Jesus promises. If a man were a Christian for 10 years and then became a lost soul, all he would have was a 10 year life. If it could ever be lost, it could never be eternal. But it is eternal. Salvation has three aspects. It is past, present and future.
Those who know Christ are, first of all, saved from the penalty of sin, which is death. In this case death means separation from a holy God. We were dead in trespasses and sins. But God placed those sins on Christ and declared us righteous. We no longer are condemned by God any longer. The penalty has been paid. This is past tense salvation.
Beyond this, salvation is present tense as well. God is at work, conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6; I John 3:2). I am not now what I should be, but thank God I will be perfected. Not by my works, but by the work of God in me and through me (Philippians 2:12,13).
Ultimately, our salvation is future tense as well. There will come a day when Jesus will return and will remove the presence of sin from the universe He has created. The Bible teaches that we will live in a universe no longer polluted by sin and corruption. There will be a New Heaven and a New Earth, in which dwells righteousness (Revelation 21:1-4). No longer will we be plagued by our own sinful nature or that of others. It will truly be paradise. We have this to look forward to if we know the Lord Jesus Christ.
III. Salvation is Promised in Scripture
The final thing that we need to know is that there are many verses in the Bible that promise salvation to the believer and tell us that it is eternal. If we had no other evidence than this it would be sufficient. Some verses we've already covered, but it helps to see them all together. Here is a short list:
1. John 10:27-29 - Jesus says: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give eternal life to them. And they shall never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand."
2. John 3:16- "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
3. I John 5:11-13- "And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things have I written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."
4. Hebrews 10:14- "For by one offering He (Jesus Christ), has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."
5. Romans 8:1- "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
6. Romans 8:38,39- "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
It is my hope that those who are saved will be comforted by the fact that they are secure in Chirst. When Jesus said on that cross: "It is finished" he meant it. Our salvation is complete in Him. There is absolutely nothing that must be done. And for those who are trying to be saved by works, please know that it is a losing battle. Nothing that I have done, or ever will do can either make me saved or keep me saved. We need to place our trust completely in the finished work of the risen Lord for any hope of salvation in this life, or the one to come. If you haven't accepted Christ yet, do it now. And then you can join those who have been saved by grace through faith, plus nothing. What a wonderful privilege it is! What a wonderful God we serve!