Am I still saved? Was I ever saved in the first place? Have you ever had these kinds of questions come to your mind as a born-again believer? I know I had them eating away at me many times, although I thought I was a genuine believer in Christ, born again, baptized in water, and saved. Why? Because I was still sinning as a Christian and sometimes repeatedly in the same area. When that happened, I was feeling ashamed and sorry, and I was wondering: “Will I ever see any real progress in holiness in my Christian life so that I don’t have to worry or be afraid of losing my salvation? Will I ever overcome, completely and permanently, sinful behaviors that keep reoccurring again and again, although I have confessed them and decided to change so many times?” I didn’t know what to do because I wanted so much to be pleasing to the Lord, but I felt hopeless. My conscience kept weighing me down with condemnation for years until I began to fear the accumulation of these sins had undone or would undo my eternal salvation somewhere in the near future, although I confessed them and I was genuinely sorry. I used to ask myself: “How much will God bear with me until He gives up on me completely?” Whenever I boarded a plane, I would cry before God and make sure I confessed all my sins, so I would not be eternally lost if the plane crashed. With these questions constantly bothering me, I became disheartened in my Christian walk. Instead of rejoicing in my salvation, loving God more and more, and pursuing Him with an unburdened heart, I was always feeling unworthy, even when I may not have had a specific sin in mind. I was finding it difficult to pray or read the Bible at times. Even more problematic was the fact that I was regularly involved in public ministry in the church. I was leading worship every week, preaching the Word, and praying for people. Slowly, I lost all confidence in ministering to God and people. I became so self-focused I lost sight of Christ and all He has done for me. Despite my best efforts and good intentions, I kept sinning. My unresolved sins continued to pile up, burdening my conscience and making me feel spiritually hopeless and paralyzed. I began to think I could never live a holy life and I would always be in condemnation, guilt, and depression. Mind you, I wasn’t living in grave sins like adultery, drugs, drinking, smoking, stealing, or lying. I was a pastor’s kid, born and raised in a Christian family. But I still had some issues I had to deal with. One day after the church meeting, I seriously decided to give up on following the Lord because I was tired of fighting and pretending I was well. I was also convinced my Christian life had suffered irreparable damage and I was already lost. So, I thought to myself: “What’s the use? I’ve already lost my salvation. Why try anymore?” If you’ve ever experienced something similar, this series of articles is for you. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit had mercy on me and didn’t leave me there. He slowly began revealing to me deeper truths about what really happened at the cross and about salvation.
Can true believers, who are born again and justified by faith in Christ, ever lose their salvation by sinning? I soon realized this question has been a source of controversy for a long time among Christians. This is indeed an issue of considerable importance in practical Christian living. On one hand, if there is no guarantee that salvation is permanent, believers may experience a great deal of anxiety and insecurity like I did, undermining the effectiveness and the power of the Gospel in their Christian lives. On the other hand, if salvation is secure and believers are preserved saved independently of their lives and actions, the result might be lassitude or indifference to the moral and spiritual demands of the Gospel, something called libertinism. Therefore, clarifying and establishing the scriptural teaching concerning the security of the believer is essential for a victorious life.
There have been two predominant perspectives to this controversy on eternal security: one in which our perseverance in faith and sanctification conditions the keeping of salvation, and the other in which salvation is secured by God eternally, independent of our sanctification. In this series of articles, I will advocate that genuine salvation is preserved by God forever, with sanctification a result of this salvation and not a condition to maintain it. I will accomplish this by first unfolding the biblical proofs according to which genuine believers in Christ can never lose their salvation. Then I will tackle the most common biblical objections to the eternal security of salvation for true born-again believers and attempt to answer them.
This series of articles describes another application or implication (besides confession of sins and the Lord’s Supper) of the reality that believers have become free of condemnation forever, and their future sins have been eradicated as well.
A Free and Irrevocable Gift
Let’s read two passages that illustrate the very nature of salvation and eternal life:
Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Moreover, eternal justification of your sins is received by faith alone and independent of the works of the Law. That means you did not receive your salvation based on your good works, it is not maintained by your good works done after the time of salvation, and it is not lost by your evil works. What are the works of the Law? They are good and holy deeds done for the Lord, but they are done through human effort and with the wrong purpose of keeping yourself right with God and be pleasing to Him. Since your salvation is independent of your works, it is secure and eternal. Romans 3:28 shows this clearly:
Romans 3:28 (NKJV)
28 Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law.
Romans 11:29 (NKJV)
29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Although the context of this verse is Israel’s calling by God, it reveals something generally true about God’s nature: once He has given a gift to someone, once He has called or has blessed someone, He doesn’t repent or feel sorry for it no matter what. The gifts, the callings, and the blessings from God are always irrevocable. The born again have received the gift of righteousness and have been called to salvation. This gift and this calling are irrevocable from God’s point of view once believers accept them by faith.
Eternal Life’s Definition
Furthermore, according to many passages like Romans 6:23, John 3:36, John 5:24, and John 6:47, believers in Christ have eternal life already. How can they become un-eternal and temporal again? Among other things, the very definition of ETERNAL includes the concept of existence without end. Not only that, but this existence without end is full of the life of God.
The Holy Spirit Seal
Let’s move a step forward. According to John 14:16, the Holy Spirit has been given to believers to abide with them and in them FOREVER:
John 14:16 (NKJV)
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.
The verse doesn’t add any qualification or condition of how long the Holy Spirit will stay within believers. It just says FOREVER. How can He abide forever in them if they can lose their salvation anytime? How can the Holy Spirit be taken back? How can “forever” become finite and oscillating? How can the eternal seal of the Holy Spirit described in Ephesians 1:13–14, Ephesians 4:30, 2 Corinthians 1:21–22, and 5:5 be broken? It cannot. A spiritual seal done by God is eternal.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NKJV)
21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,
22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Eternal Redemption and Eternal Inheritance
Hebrews 9:12, 15 say Jesus has obtained for us an ETERNAL REDEMPTION and an ETERNAL INHERITANCE:
Hebrews 9:12 (NKJV)
12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews 9:15 (NKJV)
15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the New Covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
By and large, the body of Christ believes in a momentary redemption and a temporary inheritance that is constantly in a state of fluctuation based on its performance. Based on how you act, you can lose your salvation, and then you need to be born again AGAIN. However, if you could indeed lose your salvation at your next sin, the most loving thing God, the Father, could do for you is kill you and take you to heaven immediately after you received Christ in your heart so that you would remain saved.
Some people might say the adjective ETERNAL means only that redemption and inheritance are available to people for the length of eternity. Indeed, ETERNAL may not necessarily refer to the fact that once you have redemption and salvation, they are fixed and forever for you no matter what you do. However, if we look at the context of Hebrews 9 and compare the Old Covenant (where the high priest would enter once a year into the Most Holy Place with the blood of animals to atone for the people) with the New Covenant (where Jesus entered once and for all the Most Holy Place with His own blood), we can conclude that the eternal redemption Jesus obtained for us is also fixed and eternal in nature. The term ETERNAL signifies that redemption is not temporal or partial but covers all time and all sins.
The Imperishable Seed
Another argument comes from 1 Peter 1:23, which talks about the seed of the Word of God:
1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV)
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
The new creation is born again from the incorruptible seed of the word of God, which lives and abides forever. Since the word of God lives forever, how could the new creation born of this seed ever PERISH again?
One Spirit with the Lord
Then, based on 1 Corinthians 6:17, once you are saved, and you join yourself to the Lord, you are made ONE SPIRIT with Him:
1 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV)
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
How could you ever be separated from Him again? That would mean a breach of the Trinity itself, which is impossible. Even when Jesus was on the cross, He was not separated from the Trinity in His Spirit. He was still one with the Trinity.
The Last Adam’s Power
Another powerful biblical support for the assurance of salvation comes from Romans 5, which describes the last Adam, Jesus Christ, as MUCH MORE powerful than the first Adam. In what way? Before Christ came, nobody could have “fallen away” from death and darkness “into righteousness,” no matter how many good, holy works they did, right? Right. Now, if people who are made new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) and are transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13) can fall away back into darkness because of their sins and evil works, in the sense that their nature becomes sin again and they lose their salvation and their state of righteousness, that makes Jesus Christ and the nature of God much weaker than Adam. Ultimately, it makes life weaker than death. However, Romans 5 describes the last Adam as way stronger and greater than the first Adam.
Natural Life and Spiritual Life
Then, Acts 17:28 advocates that natural earthly life cannot uphold itself, but people live, move, and have their being in God.
Acts 17:28 (NKJV)
28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, “For we are also His offspring.”
Since God sustains natural earthly life, even more, how can spiritual life then uphold itself? God must maintain the faith, the love, and the holy activity He has originated through the means of people’s free will. Since God preserves the natural life, we can expect Him to uphold the spiritual one the same way, as seen in Philippians 1:6, Jude 1:24, and 1 Corinthians 1:8. Let’s read these passages:
Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)
6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:24 (NKJV)
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,…
1 Corinthians 1:8 (NKJV)
8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Listen / Watch / Download
You can listen to the audio message of this article, watch the video message or download it in different formats (mp3 / mp4 / pdf) from the following link: