Have you ever doubted your own salvation? Has doubt crept into your mind about your being saved or not? Here is how you can have confidence in salvation.
Saved From What?
We are saved but saved from what? We are actually saved from God! Yes, saved from God but more specifically, we are saved from “the wrath of God [which] is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Rom 1:18) “For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs” (Psalm 75:8) but the good news is that since “we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10). So we are not simply saved from eternal death in hell fire alone but we are saved from the wrath of God which was poured out on Christ for our sake (Rom 5:1).
Can We Fall Away? Is it Biblical?
I do not like the term “once saved, always saved” because that seems presumptuous of God’s mercy. Neither do I like what is called eternal security because it is not completely accurate. I would rather call it the perseverance of the saints. Sadly, many in the church do not believe that a person can be saved and stay saved. Some believe you can lose your salvation. What a fearful thing…one day to believe that they are saved and then not sure if they are on another day. There are so many Bible verses that I can turn to but time and space limit me to only a select few but these are certainly convincing. Paul was confident in his salvation and so were the apostles but some passages trouble us. One is in Hebrews 6:4-6 which says:
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”
What is important to note is that they have “shared in the Holy Spirit” but not received the Holy Spirit. It does not appear that the writer is speaking to believers because they were turning back to the Old Testament laws. The Book of Hebrews was written to a Jewish audience and not every one of them was saved any more than everyone in church today is. There are tares (false converts) growing up alongside the wheat (Christians) even today. The Book of Hebrews is about the supremacy of Christ, a once-for-all sacrifice that is superior to the Old Covenant sacrifices that had to be continually sacrificed and could never take away sin. Even if this were written to Christians, the writer seems confident of their being saved as he writes, “we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation” (Heb 6:9). This writer says that “in your case” which is contrasted to those who have only “shared in the Holy Spirit.” He says he feels “sure of better things – things that belong to salvation.” It is sad that Hebrews 6:4-6 has needlessly troubled so many but what they do is take a few verses out of the text and don’t look at the full context of what is being said. If they do this, they simply cannot understand what this chapter is really saying. Text taken out of context makes a pretext and usually a false one. That is how cults are formed.
If the writer of Hebrews was saying that they could be saved and then fall away, why does he later write in this same chapter that “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end” (Heb 6:10-11)? Note that he speaks of “the full assurance of hope until the end” and calls them saints in the present tense. The way this was written is clear that they are saints in the present tense because they have been “serving the saints.” Clearly, unsaved people don’t serve the saved (or the saints). It’s important to note that all of the Bible is written for believers but not all of the Bible is written to them. For example God said that the Sabbath is a “sign to you” (Israel) but this does not mean that it is a sign to us today.
Is Confidence in Salvation Biblical?
Read these verses and you will have a hard time reconciling the belief that a person can receive eternal life and then lose it again. The emphasis’ put in the text with ALL CAPS are my own to make a point so please indulge me.
John 6:37 “ALL that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will NEVER cast out.”
John 10:28-29 ”I give them eternal life, and they will 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 the Father’s hand.”
John 6:39 “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose NOTHING of ALL that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”
Romans 8:29-35, 37-38 “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
These verses are very convincing. Who or what can separate us from God? Not death, angels (fallen ones), things present (today), things to come (in the future), not height (falling), depth (by accident or drowning), powers (heavenly or earthly)…and to make sure this means everything and everyone Paul adds “nor ANYTHING ELSE in ALL creation.” Whatever is created covers it all wouldn’t you say? Jesus says that we can be born again (John 3:3) and one who is born again is literally born “from above” (Greek) and not born from below (or by our own power). God has no aborted children!
Did Peter Believe in the Perseverance of the Saints?
First Peter 1:3-9 says:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has CAUSED us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is IMPERISHABLE, undefiled, and unfading, KEPT (held in store or reserved) in heaven (not by you on earth) for you, who by GOD’S POWER are being guarded [literally kept!] through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining (past tense) the outcome (or having already been done since this was past tense), the outcome (completed) of your faith, the salvation (past tense) of your souls.”
Reserved in Heaven
Jude wrote “To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for (literally “kept by”) Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:b). What Jesus keeps, Jesus keeps for good! Paul said “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced (assured) that he is able to guard (means to keep protected) until (or “up until”) that Day (of His return) what has been entrusted (Greek, “deposited”) to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit (means like a down payment or promissory note) entrusted to you” (2 Tim 1:12-14). In the Book of Ephesians chapter’s 1 and 2 speak Paul writes about the Holy Spirit’s work in “sealing us” and what God seals, no man can open.
Is your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life? God warns us that “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15). God is angry at the sinner (or the unsaved) every single day and since “God is a righteous judge, a God who feels indignation every day” (Psalm 7:11) we need to repent of our sins if we haven’t already done so. Then, we need to confess our sins before God and plead with the Savior to save us and then trust in Him who alone can save us (Rom 10:9-13, Acts 4:12).
Another article you might be interested in: Where is Heaven? Where is Hell? What Does The Bible Say?
Resources: New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide