Can I lose my Salvation? Can I be assured that I am genuinely saved? Can I know that I am going to heaven when I die? The Bible is very clear on the matter of eternal salvation, however, I have repeatedly heard Christians say they aren’t sure if they are really saved, I have heard believers recount the times they have asked God to save them “again” just to be sure; I even wrestled with this at a younger age myself.
Personal positions on eternal security can be broken down into the following categories:
- Not saved and aware of not having eternal security. (This happens when a person rejects their need for salvation.)
- Not saved but have a false sense of eternal security. (This happens when a person believes in any way to eternity other than Jesus Christ.)
- Saved but not confident in their salvation at the present time. (This happens when someone doubts their salvation.)
- Saved and fully aware that they are saved and have eternal security. (This happens when a person has genuine faith and they believe what God’s Word says about salvation.)
There are not only varying personal positions one can have regarding their own salvation; there are also opinions on the topic of salvation in general that vary from complete eternal security to the ability to lose salvation completely. To have a right understanding of salvation we must turn to Scripture.
In relation to eternal security, salvation can be defined as deliverance from the punishment for sin which is eternal death, and into a restored relationship with God which results in eternal life. Salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). God sent His only son Jesus to be the atonement (payment) for our sin (1 Jn 2:2). Jesus atoned for our sin by dying on the cross and taking the weight of all sin (past, present, and future) onto Himself. Jesus rose three days later from the dead, defeating death forever (Lk 24, 1 Cor 15).
In order to be saved you must believe, fully trust, in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (Rom 1:16). This is not the result of a religious experience it is the result of a heart which recognizes their own sin and need for a Savior. Salvation happens through our faith in Christ because of the grace of God. Salvation can not be earned (Eph 2:8-9), it is a free gift from God and God’s gifts are irrevocable (Rom 11:29). It is worth noting that someone can have abundant knowledge about the Scriptures and still not be saved (Jn 5:39-40). Salvation is not a head knowledge it is a heart change that moves a person to commit their life to the One and Only living God.
Romans 10:9-13 gives us a clear understanding of how we are saved:
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
Scripture States That Salvation Is Eternal
There are far too many salvation Scriptures to cover in one post, however, below are several confirming that when are saved it is for eternity:
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.“
John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 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. I and the Father are one.”
John 17:1-5 “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
1 John 2:24-25 “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.”
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Romans 8:38-39 “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.”
Why Do We Doubt?
Keep in mind there are times when doubt can fuel our discovery of the truth. We may doubt our salvation because we really desire to be assured that we are forgiven and are going to heaven. We may doubt salvation because of unrepentant sin, because of weak faith, because we have our eyes on difficult life circumstances, or even because we are not connecting with God’s will for our life. We can also doubt because of the enemy.
All Scripture points to Jesus and Jesus points us to eternal life. His mission, His ministry, even His last directive to His disciples are all related to an ultimate redemption plan for humanity. Think about this, the most well known Scripture by believers and unbelievers alike is John 3:16. This verse proclaims the reason that God sent His only Son to earth – because He loves us so much that He wants us to have eternal life. The Bible also tells us that God’s desire is that none should parish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pt 3:9). It is no wonder that Satan wants to attack the truth about Salvation. He tries to distort the truth by making people believe they don’t need eternal life at all or by convincing them that there is more than one way to eternal life. If Satan can keep people from being saved in the first place then he has accomplished his purpose. If someone is saved then the Devil wants nothing more than to make them doubt their salvation. It is a way of keeping people in bondage. Satan is always pointing people toward sin, toward death, and toward bondage while Jesus always points people to repentance, to forgiveness, to freedom, and to eternal life.
How Can Some Fall Away?
Considering all of this, how can there be some who turn from the faith? Simply put, God does not force His will on us. He desires His will for us deeply but He does not force us to accept Him or follow Him. Therefore everyone has the choice to accept Jesus by faith or reject Him. Furthermore, although the Bible calls us to be obedient to God, we can choose to disobey Him as well.
There are two types of people who fall away from faith:
First there are those that wander from God, walking away in willful disobedience for a period, and return to Him. These were truly saved from the beginning, their return and repentant heart is evidence of this.
Second there are those that fall away and never return to Christ. These individuals may have claimed to be followers of Jesus for a period of time, they may have been going through the motions of Christianity, but they did not genuinely accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and their heart does not call them back to Him in repentance. True believers will return to Jesus or they were never saved to begin with (1 Jn 2:19).
This is a topic worth exploring and checking our hearts is not a bad thing. We are talking about eternity here. Being saved or not being saved has reaI eternal consequences so we want to be sure. That being said God does not want us to live in a place of constant doubt or concern about eternity. Once we have accepted Christ He is ours. There is absolutely nothing that can be done to us or nothing that we can do ourselves to lose our salvation. God does not make this offering to revoke it nor did Jesus give His life for us to live in bondage. Scripture repeatedly reminds us that salvation is forever!