Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Salvation - Can it Be Lost?

I am blessed to be friends with many men and women of God scattered across the broad spectrum of denominations (and nondenominational) within Christianity. I enjoy talking with them and discussing the scriptures and how they apply to daily life. I do not debate the Word of God. For the most part, we always agree. However there are some topics where we don't exactly see eye to eye. One of those topics is whether or not one can loose their salvation.

We were having a hypothetical discussion about whether or not an individual was in danger of loosing their salvation and perishing. Here's the scenario. (Please note that we were not judging this hypothetical individual but simply discussing how the Word of God applies to daily Christian living)

Johnny accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at the age of 12. He was baptized and grew up in the church. As he got older, he decided he no longer wanted to attend church regularly. He left the church in his early 20's. He began to drink, do drugs, steal and kill. He never repented or ceased his behavior. Then one day Johnny tries to rob the wrong liquor store and is shot to death in the process.

The question is: Is Johnny's salvation secured because he accepted the Lord as a child or did he "loose his salvation" somewhere along the way? We were literally divided on this topic. For one, as people we have no heaven or hell to place anyone in and we often feel uncomfortable when asked these sorts of questions knowing all that God has done for us, we don't want to appear judgemental because we don't want to be judged.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Many misinterpret this scripture to mean that you can't judge but you can. Note, the scripture immediately following says:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2)

We are supposed to use the Word of God to judge every aspect of our lives and to correct that which shouldn't be. The measure that we use should be the Word of God.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16)

Back to our discussion about Johnny. Many Christians believe that because Johnny accepted the Lord that he is once saved - always saved. They believe that according to John 3:16 he shall not perish.

Then there are those that believe that we are called to be holy because God is holy. They believe that once we are saved, God will not allow us to continue to sin and still be secure in our salvation. In other words, they believe that our grace will run out. These Christians believe that if you are truly saved that you are new and will walk in the newness of life.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-4)

I do not believe that one can "loose their salvation". I believe that you are either saved or you aren't. Salvation that is lost was not salvation in the first place. I believe that when God says whosoever believes shall not perish but have everlasting life in John 3:16 that He meant it. Therefore, if you believe that Jesus died for your sins so that you could live forever you will walk in the newness of life.

Now none of us are perfect. Romans 3:23 tells us that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I'm not saying that you will be perfect. What I am saying is that you will strive to please God. When we fall short, we will repent, get up and start all over again. We are not perfect because we are saved. If we could be perfect on our own, Jesus would never have had to go to the cross. On the same note, because Jesus went to the cross and rose on the 3rd day ee now have access to the same power which raised Him from the dead. We have access to His Holy Spirit.

I believe that it is impossible to stay saved without the Holy Spirit abiding in us. When I say Holy Spirit I don't mean the outward appearance that many demonstrate with the dancing and speaking in other tongues. Anyone can behave this way even without truly having the Spirit of God. I mean God dwelling in us leading us and guiding us to all truth and righteousness.

Now back to Johnny. I believe that Johnny was never saved in the first place. It is not impossible to go to church week in and week out (in some cases for years) and not be saved. Salvation is a spiritual thing. It's an eternal thing. So is damnation. If you are not secure in your salvation you have time today to get it right with God. He loves us and wants us to be secure in our eternal future. Let's not be unsure. Let's not let Him return and find us with our works undone. We don't want to be like Johnny and die in a state where we are out of fellowship with God or living a sinful life that is displeasing to Him.

Now, here's the interesting part. What are your views? Do you think that salvation can be lost? Where do you think (according to the Word of God) is Johnny's eternal destination? I want to hear from you.

Shanita Waters
Author of By His Stripes We Are Healed

1 comment:

Keith's Space said...

I agree with you, that he was probably not saved in the first place. One can backslide...but those who truly beleive and are in him are usually reeled back in many times. My own life is a living testimony of this. Great