We received this email in December and because of the nature we responded directly to the writer at that time. Because this is such an important subject, we have moved it to the top of the queue and are answering it in our first Got Questions article for this year.
How can we know our salvation is secure?
There are some denominations that hold a theological belief that salvation is not permanent. They use a number of verses to support their belief, however they are taken out of context and misunderstood. We could spend a lot of time discussing the misunderstanding of those verses, but instead we will focus here on the truth of eternal security — how we can have assurance that our salvation is secure.
Believing that salvation can be lost not only denies the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement and the truth of His promises but also His faithfulness in keeping us and even His ability to keep us. If it were true, it would be very scary to think about “falling from grace.” It’s understandable why this person is concerned, but the very fact that this person has concern, strives to read the Bible and tries to live according to God’s will, is an indication of the presence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The conviction this person speaks of (“relationship with God has been downhill lately”) is another indication of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in convicting him.
This person acknowledges that their life is not in accord with God’s will; and now what is important is that the person responds to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and teachings and makes changes. We are never to seek or find pleasure in the things for which our Lord and Saviour died. When we are tempted with sin we should remember that Jesus suffered for us so that our sins could be forgiven. Understanding and remembering that should help us to make God-honoring decisions. Knowing and trusting that we have the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, we should remind ourselves NOT to engage in the things for which Christ suffered and died.
Assurance of Salvation
Remember that our salvation is a work done in us, by God. We have not earned it…nor can we un-earn it. If we think of it as a gift, the only way that a gift can be given back is if the gift-giver desires to take it, or is willing to accept it back. Jesus will not do either. He promised to keep us eternally.
There are many verses that clearly proclaim this and give us assurance of our eternal security. (emphasis, italics and bracketed information added)
1 John 5:10-13 “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself [the Holy Spirit]: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son [we are IN Him – we are the body of Christ united with Him]. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God [WHY?]; THAT YE MAY KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Eternal life is not conditional. It is not temporal. It is permanent. It starts at the moment Jesus saves us and continues on into eternity. It would not be eternal life if we could lose our salvation; and the Bible supports this so that we may KNOW that we have ETERNAL life.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [that means anything you have done or might do!] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2 Timothy 2:10-13 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
This begs the question, what is denied to us? It can’t be our salvation, for verse 10 speaks of “eternal glory” and verse 11 says “we shall also live with Him.” The context of vs 12 is about our rewards; and this verse: 12 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.“ assures us of His faithfulness. We are His body, we are one with Him, and He cannot deny Himself.
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
This is another precious promise from Jesus that He will keep us. If salvation is not permanent, it denies His ability to keep us. No one can “pluck” us out of His hand…and that includes us. We can’t “pluck” ourselves out of His hand. His grasp is tighter and stronger than anything we can do.
This is reflected in the Mercy Me song, Hold Fast. When we are in dark seasons of the soul, whether it be from trials and tribulation, or our own human frailty of falling into sin, we should remember:
Hold fast, Help is on the way
Hold fast, He’s come to save the day
What I’ve learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp, So hold fast
There is certainly much more support in the Bible that tells us we are eternally secure, but perhaps the most important thing for us to remember is that Jesus PROMISED ETERNAL life. Jesus is faithful and true, so when He promised eternal life….He meant forever! Also remember, He guaranteed our salvation would be secure by giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit, by Whom we are SEALED!
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling,and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25
Articles About Salvation
- How can I convince someone that they have eternal security?
- Does Hebrews 6 Teach Salvation Can Be Lost?
- What is eternal security/assurance of salvation? Can I lose salvation?
- What Happens If I Continue to Sin?
- 1 John 1:9 What is the Christian “Bar of Soap?”
- The Gift of SalvaTION: Justification & Imputation
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