Salvation is a mostly-Christian word. Sometimes, the Bible uses the words saved or salvation to refer to temporal, physical deliverance, but more often, the word “salvation” concerns an eternal, spiritual deliverance. Jesus equated being saved with being part of the kingdom of God on earth and receiving access to heaven in the hereafter.
So what are we saved from? In the Christian doctrine of salvation, we are saved from God’s judgment of sin. Sin separates us from God and this separation from God results in spiritual death and eternal separation from God. And if you are not saved it is impossible for you to follow God’s will for your life now because you don’t have a relationship with him.
The question is, once you are saved, are you saved forever or can you lose your salvation? I have known a lot of people who say they believe then later in life then walk away from God and others who love God and are constantly questioning whether or not they will be in heaven for sure.
When it comes to salvation, God doesn’t give us a pro-rated warranty that runs out over time. God gives us a guarantee that is forever. God doesn’t promise us salvation and then when we die and meet him face to face he says “I’m sorry, you were doing so good, but I changed my mind and you didn’t do enough service projects to get into heaven so you just get to sit outside the fence.” Or “You did pretty good you can stay in heaven with all expenses paid for a week, but then you have to leave.” God doesn’t say “You can stay in the guest house for a few months.” God doesn’t mostly guarantee our salvation if he thinks we are good enough at the time, he completely guarantees it. He doesn’t move the goal post.
Your salvation is secure. This is important because if you think your salvation is at risk or comes and goes based on what you do, it will leave you feeling incredibly insecure always wondering where you stand with God. What if you didn’t confess all your sins or forgot one, will you lose your salvation? What if you slip up? Will you lose your salvation? What if you lose your mind due to disease, will you lose your salvation?
Jesus promises that it is the will of his heavenly father that every single person who believes in him will be saved. Not one single individual with saving faith will be lost. Later Jesus added that the sheep will “never perish,” and that “no one shall snatch them out of My hand” John 10:27-29.
The fact is that you cannot lose your salvation. I have lost my keys and I have lost my cell phone and both were because I forgot where I put them. We lose things all the time and it’s usually because we can’t remember where we put them or someone takes something and doesn’t return it. Nothing makes me more upset than when my wife or kids takes a tool from the garage and leaves it someplace where I can’t find it. Several years ago my kids took an entire socket set out of the garage and lost it. I could not find it anywhere for a whole week. Then on Saturday I mowed the lawn and found all of my sockets because I ran them over with the lawn mower. The kids fixed their bikes on the lawn and the grass grew around the sockets. By the time I realized I was mowing them they had ruined my lawn blade and shot a few sockets into the corn field.
We don’t lose our salvation like we lose our phones or tools. Within evangelical theology there are a couple common beliefs concerning the possibility of a believer losing or “forfeiting” their salvation. These are the main views:
The first view is that once you are saved you are always saved. Some believe that no matter what you do, even if you deny knowing Jesus and turn your back on him, you are saved. So once you believe and are sealed by the Holy Spirit, it’s an irrevocable agreement between you and God.
The second view is known as the “perseverance of the saints.” This belief is that if one really is a true believer, they will never turn away from God no matter what. You may still sin and slip up, but if you really are a believer, you will not walk away from God. You might sort of walk away for a time, but deep down inside you are more or less just pouting and not abandoning your faith.
Today, I want you to leave here knowing for sure that you are a child of God. If you have messed up in the past or even in the present, you are still loved, forgiven, and wanted. God has not left you. Your salvation is secure. Just repent of your sins and get right with God again by asking him to forgive you and he will.
If today you are not sure if you are saved, you can be. If you have never come to a place of faith when you wanted to invite Jesus Christ into your heart and life, then today is the day that you should put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ so that you may know for sure that you have eternal life.
Faith in Christ involves an intellectual understanding that you have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All of us need to be saved from sin.
So if you call on the name of Jesus and believe in your heart that he is the savior of the world and that he has been crucified and resurrected and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven, you will have eternal life. This is God’s promise, his guarantee. Once we are saved we have eternal security and are empowered to live each day for the glory of God with our eyes on eternity because one day we will see God and be with him forever. And in heaven there is no pain or sorrow or sadness, just love and peace and abundance. I want that. I look forward to heaven and while I am still on earth I want to do God’s will for my life. I hope you do too. We were created by God for God, so let’s live for his glory and look forward to eternity. AMEN.