People in conversation sometimes make the mistake of thinking they are talking about the same thing. This happens frequently when there is a conversation about biblical things, because there are so many doctrines floating around about the tenets of Christian faith. I have found that few people have a biblical understanding of Salvation, so I have written at length here to try and shed more light on it. A conversation I was privy to recently dealt with the topic: “Once you have confessed that you believe the testimony of Christ, and accept Him as your savior, does your salvation hinge on any actions of your own or is that final.” I see a lot in this topic, just from the view point of the question, which suggest a lack of understanding about what Salvation really is. From outside the veil of the spirit, Salvation is seen mainly as deliverance from eternal judgement in hell. While that is a benefit of Salvation, it isn’t the primary objective of Salvation. Unfortunately, blanket forgiveness fire insurance has become the main hook used by many ministers for the reason to accept Salvation through Christ. A message like that appeals a lot to a guilt-ridden congregation the morning after Saturday night. The Bible promises that the truth will make you free, not feel good. The freedom that comes from adhering to truth makes you feel outstanding! Through the revelation of the Spirit, one comes to understand the main goal of salvation is to reconcile man to GOD, for He is Life. The words of Christ are recorded in John 17:3,
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
It is impossible for the carnal mind to know GOD, so man needed to be born again of the Spirit of GOD. This is what is explained in 1 Corinthians 2:11-12,
“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
Now put that with John 1: 10-13,
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
So, the Salvation of Christ gives us power, through rebirth of the spirit, to receive the knowledge and spirit of GOD (Holy Seed) whereby we are transformed and bear righteous fruit. This rebirth makes it possible for us to have intimate fellowship with GOD…Sweet reconciliation. Forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ makes this new life possible. The blood of the Holy Lamb sanctifies us on the altar, enabling us to be received by GOD and consumed by His Holy Spirit. Without the blood of Christ, we would be considered unclean and rejected. GOD grants us free will through the light of the gospel to confess our sins and to acknowledge our need for the blood of Christ. It is our choice whether to surrender ourselves into His care. Only those that take up the altar of their cross and receive the sprinkling blood are candidates for the rebirth, also called resurrection life. Those accepting salvation merely to avoid suffering, pause at the requirements of new life. Those truly seeking rest for their souls, having the old man shattered from the fall upon the gracious Rock of Salvation, count all things behind as dung, for the opportunity to know more intimately that heart which is filled with immeasurable grace and everlasting love.
Those who have partaken of the offering of salvation, are free to make the daily decision to sacrifice carnal life in order to obey the will of the spirit unto life. This is the teaching of the Apostles Paul in Romans 12:1-2,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The act of presenting your body a living sacrifice is not a one-time act. Daily, we must determine to live spiritually, in obedience to the Word and Spirit of GOD. The orientation of this carnal world compels us to act without conscience on impulse. We have to govern these bodies by the power of the spirit, or we may be driven back to the wallowing in the mire, the uncleanliness of living in darkness, the ways of death. Be mindful of the fact that we arrive at that place by choice, not chance. We stumble back into darkness when we grieve the Spirit by ignoring His gentle guidance, when we stop giving in to the call of GOD to fellowship in prayer, meditation, and study. It is when we allow ourselves to get bitter in the desert from the strict diet of manna and pure waters from heaven, because our flesh misses the sweet meats and drinks of Egypt’s oppression. After being delivered from Egypt, all those that escaped were later destroyed in the wilderness, never to reach the promised land. The only exceptions were Joshua and Caleb. The wilderness symbolizes the journey after Salvation. The ultimate goal of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt was for them to inherit the promised land. Here is the question at hand, did the Israelites which died in the wilderness lose their salvation. They were delivered from Egypt and they ate the bread of heaven, but they never would surrender their lives in trust to GOD, so they perished before reaching their destination. This is the equivalent of a person today confessing Christ as Savior, but afterwards despising the sufferings required by the cross to inherit new life, therefore turning back to the ways of the flesh and becoming reprobate. This is 1st Corinthians 9:24-27,
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
The Apostle Paul is speaking here about staying faithful unto the end of your journey, so that Salvation can complete its work. The word castaway in these verses comes from a Greek word which means, rejected, unapproved, or reprobate. The goal of salvation is to have you partake of the life which is in GOD through unity with Him, but if you don’t value Him enough to go through the hardships required to connect with Him, how can salvation finish its work in you. Here are a few scriptures that speak to this:
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1st Peter 4:1-2)
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3)
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:35-39)
All these scriptures speak of Salvation as a journey we must persevere through until we obtain the promise of new life. By faith, you have it when you ask for it, but it still must be worked out to fruition. It is the misunderstanding and the erroneous teaching of this next scripture that perpetuates the misguided question…Can you lose your salvation?
“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)
Look at the meaning of the words used here in Roman 10:10 which explains the process of Salvation:
“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
We see here that we believe “unto” righteousness, and we confess “unto” salvation. “Unto” is a function word to indicate movement or an action or condition suggestive of a movement toward a place, person, or thing reached. (Merriam Webster) So belief in our heart moves us until we reach righteousness, and confession moves us until we reach salvation. How does one know when they have reached the destination? This is a very personal thing which does manifest itself in a public way. Just like whenever you reach somewhere you are destined to, when you begin to see what you were told would be there, you have arrived. As I shared earlier, the destination of Salvation is knowing GOD. GOD reveals His nature to us by word and spirit. When we begin to see is nature arise in us, it is the evidence that we have gotten to know Him. Study the bible and you will see that often the scriptures say a man knew his wife and then they produced a child. The child is the evident fruit of their union. Those who except the Salvation of Christ are called His bride, and those that go on to know Him bare His fruit. Here are the words of Christ affirming what I am saying here in John15:3-6,
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
In marriage, a man and a woman become one flesh. You know the physicality of that. The process of a person knowing GOD occurs when through faith, they allow the Word of GOD to penetrate their heart, and they keep it until it matures to new life which issues out of them. It takes time to truly get to know someone. Child baring is a process GOD has given us to understand salvation. In context of marriage, the way GOD intended, it is clear. Through perversion, Satan is attempting to destroy the practice of sex and marriage as originally designed. His goal is to perpetuate his deceptions and to destroy a context for understanding GOD’s plan of salvation, like what I am sharing in this writing.
To know someone, you must spend time together and go through things together. Salvation happens as we get to know GOD. Yeshua didn’t ask the disciples to repeat some words after Him which they couldn’t even understand. He told them to come and follow Him. He tells us to take up our cross and follow Him daily. He is saying, “come get to know me, my thoughts, my words, and my ways.” The journey of salvation is where we get to know Him. Our Father tells us that they which seek Him must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The gospel of Christ as often taught today, is void of the true reward of salvation, the promise that we can have the life of GOD abounding in us through knowing Him. Salvation is most often presented as a way to escape Hell, but unless this teaching deals with the process which displaces the Hell we carry in us, from our fallen lineage as children of the devil, it is powerless.
The popular understanding of Salvation in our society today is divorced from resurrection living. This skew comes from a love of the world and the things which are in it. GOD can deliver us from Egypt, but can we let go of Egypt? A love for this world, and an attachment to the things of carnal life, is a stronghold keeping many from their cross. Look for a moment at Galatians 14:6,
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
Everything that is to fulfill us lies on the other side of the cross. Remember the words of our Savior,
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-25)
Looking at the truth in the word, and understanding free will, can a man decide that he is no longer going to deny himself, and can he also decide that he no longer wants to follow Christ the Savior? If a man does choose to turn away, how will that impact his days from then on and into eternity? Does a man’s salvation hinge on his decisions after saying a confession…. absolutely. Here is the important thing though, if his belief is sincere, then his confession will be true. It follows then that he will embrace the cross in gratefulness and love for the Savior, while hanging onto the hope of eternal glory, and then finish the journey to the end. Take a look at Hebrew 6:1-12,
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
3 And this will we do, if God permit.
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
I hope I have clarified what I meant when I said earlier that the question of “Can we lose our salvation?” is misguided. In context of what I am sharing here, I hope it gives new understanding to what salvation is and how we are actually saved from death. Does it make since to ask, if I don’t finish the race will I still get crowned, or if the marriage is not consummated is the bride and groom still one? Run the race to the end and get your crown, believe me, it’s been rigged for you to win. Consummate the marriage and bear the fruit of his seed and no questions need be asked.
I want to end on this note…There is no part of Salvation that we earn or merit of ourselves, it is a gift of GOD’s grace. Now that He has graciously put us on the path of life, and is leading the way, we have to follow Him, one day at a time, one step at a time, by the power He has given us.