Does Sin Cost a Believer His Salvation?
One of the terrors I endured early in my Christian life was that of continually believing that I was teetering on destruction, that I was constantly oscillating between salvation and perdition. Have I repented enough? Have I done enough to feel that I was again in God’s good graces? What about all the sins I’ve committed that I can’t recall or of which I am unaware?
As much as I wanted to believe that my salvation was by faith in Christ and in him alone, I was still faced with the grim consequences of my soteriology: God provided grace, but it was my decision to either take his hand or to slap it away. And it was my decision to continue in this salvific enterprise, and my sin was a definite issue. Was I still saved at any given moment? I couldn’t be sure. Despair was often the result.
Later, once I discovered that salivation indeed belonged to the Lord, I was set free! Free to worship God and to enjoy him and this life. God was the author and the finisher of my faith, not me. He holds me in his hand, and isn’t relying on my grip to keep me from falling away. What an occasion for rejoicing!
From Ligonier . . .
But I’m convinced that the Bible teaches that what God begins in our life, he finishes. Paul teaches, for example, in Philippians, “He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it to the end.” My confidence rests in the fact that Jesus promises to intercede for me daily as my Great High Priest. My confidence for my future salvation rests in my confidence that God will keep his promise and that Christ will intercede for me and preserve me. Again, if it were left to me, I would obviously fall away. I like to look at it this way: I’m walking the Christian life with my hand in God’s hand. If my perseverance depended upon my holding tightly to God’s hand, I would surely fall away because at some point I would let go. But I believe that the Scriptures teach us that God is holding my hand, and because he is holding my hand, I don’t have to fear that I will fall ultimately and finally.
Now that doesn’t mean that Christians don’t involve themselves in serious sins and what we would call in theology “serious and radical fall,” but the issue we’re discussing here is whether a Christian will ever fall totally and finally. In the New Testament John tells us, for example, that “those who went out from us were never really with us,” and that “Christ does not lose those whom the Father has given to him.” So my confidence again rests in the intercession of Christ and God’s ability and promise to hold on to me. In and of myself I am capable of sinning even unto the loss of my salvation, but I’m persuaded that God in his grace will keep me from that.
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