Many people believe that once you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior and are “saved”, that you’re good for the rest of your life until you die and go to Heaven. We do not believe this is so.
In this article, we are not talking about Christians who sin and repent and keep on walking with God. We are talking about people who once called themselves a Christian, and probably still do, but who sin regularly, do not repent, live a carnal life and feel smug in the idea that we live under grace, so “God will forgive me and let me into Heaven”. I may just squeak by, but I’ll get in.” Here’s another paradigm we intend to break.
There are several scriptures that support the fact that you shouldn’t be too smug in your salvation.
First of all, why does Paul say that we must work out our salvation in fear and trembling?
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence , work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
If we’re saved once and it’s a done deal, then why do we have to “work it out”? This is something to think about.
In Romans 11, Paul uses an olive tree to represent our salvation in Jesus, the natural branches being the Jews, the children of the God of Israel, and the grafted in branches of the wild olive tree being the Gentiles. In this passage, he’s talking about the fact that many Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and they are like branches that are being pruned from the olive tree, while the non-Jews, the Gentiles, are grafted into the olive tree. Note the underlined section below:
16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
Notice the word continue. We have to continue in goodness or we might be cut off. It’s pretty clear to me what this means.
To make the point even more clearly, look at
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
In this passage, Jesus is talking to the seven churches and what they need to do to be overcomers and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Note two things: first we have to be overcomers. This requires continuous work, dedication and commitment, as anyone who has fought the good fight of faith knows. Overcoming Satan’s obstacles in this life is a daily battle, not a one time event. Secondly, notice Jesus says, “and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life”. Well, that means in order to NOT have your name blotted out, it must have been IN the book in the first place.
So, when you’re saved, your name is written in the Book of Life. But Jesus says we have to overcome so your name does not become blotted OUT of the Book of Life. How much more clear can this be?
The book of Revelation goes on to say in the last chapter:
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
This scripture says that we need to do His commandments in order to enter the gates of Heaven. And the commandments are much more than just the famous 10. Those were just the beginning. God’s commandments are all through the Torah (first five books of the Bible). Jesus said in Matthew 5:
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
This Revelation scripture also says that people who are sexually immoral and liars, etc. will be outside the gate. So if you’re a “Christian” living under “grace”, but you don’t follow God’s rules of proper sexual behavior, will you be inside or outside the gate?
The bottom line is we have to revere our salvation like a precious gift that can be lost if we don’t guard it with our very lives, like the parable of the great pearl or the treasure in the field. If you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find a pearl of great value or a treasure in a field, wouldn’t you guard it with your life? If you were smart, you wouldn’t just take it for granted that it would always be there. Someone might snatch it away from you. It’s something you would fight for if it were threatened. This same logic should be applied with our salvation.
So, how do we keep our salvation? By continuously seeking God’s face. There are numerous scriptures encouraging us to seek God’s face. Seeking God’s face earnestly will cause you to read His Word (which will teach you what the Torah says), will cause you to pray to Him, and I will allow Him to reveal His will and His ways to you. Then obedience is key. If you love Him, you will find obedience easy. And if you read His Word, you will come to love Him as you learn about Him.
And of course, if you have problems reading His word and retaining it, or if you constantly fall into sin against your will, you might need to seek a deliverance minister.