2010-08-21 - Summer Questions
2007 #8: Secure Salvation ~ Originally Published 2007-08-15
2 Timothy 2:19, "Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, The Lord knows those who are His, and, Let every one who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness."
Today's Question: "Once saved / always saved ... or ... can a believer lose his salvation? I respect Dr. so-and-so and enjoy listening to his sermons ... he believes 'once saved always saved'. But what about such scriptures as "Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from thy presence or take thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation and grant me a willing spirit."
"Once saved/always saved" is one of those questions that divides Christians. The phrase "once saved/always saved" is a new phrase, as the concept has, in the past, been referenced as the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. I am going to give a short answer to your question, and then give a long list of verses that I think are the basis of the position that I take on this doctrine that divides Christians. I think that the clear teaching of Scripture is that those whom Christ has saved cannot lose their salvation, because they have been sealed in the Spirit. I firmly believe that the believer who is saved in Christ is always saved, and the verses from Psalm 51, to which you refer, are in reference to the child of God who has fallen into sin. In the case of this Psalm, it is a reference to David's sin with Bathsheba. However, these wonderful verses apply to those of us who have also fallen into lesser sins than adultery. We need to beg of God that He create in us a new heart when we lose our temper, tell a white lie, or fail to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The total, ultimate fall of a believer into sin is inconsistent with his/her profession of faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin, and the granting of His perfect righteousness. Falling into sin, and failing to repent of that sin, is inconsistent with a large number of passages from God's Holy Word. We are promised in Scripture that we are sealed in the Spirit, and thus kept and established to the honor of the Son, who gave His life as a ransom for our sin. He has purchased our salvation, and in protection of His honor, those for whom He died do persevere to the end. It is really the honor of the Trinity that is in view here. And I would like to quote John Brown, who sums this up better and more clearly than I ever could. For the true believer to ultimately fall away, and never return to Christ, is inconsistent with:
"... the unchangeable love, the justice, the wisdom, and faithfulness of God; inconsistent with his unchangeable purposes, promises, covenant, and oath; inconsistent with the honor of the Father, as their chooser, and the giver of them to Christ for his reward, and as their establisher and keeper; inconsistent with the honor of the Son, as their purchaser, advocate, builder, shepherd, husband, life, and one body and spirit with them; inconsistent with the honor of the Holy Ghost, who is in them as a perpetual inhabitant, worker, comforter, fountain springing up to everlasting life, seal of redemption, and earnest of glory."
For the true believer to have his salvation in perpetual question, based upon his/her performance, is a depressing consideration. Those promises in God's Holy Word concerning His carrying us through unto glory are among the great comforts to us when we constantly fall into sin, day after day, hour after hour. Because of the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit given to us of our sure position in Christ, we can still glory in Christ's righteousness, secured for His people in His atonement, when we fall into sin. It is a wonder that God loves us, but He loves us in Christ - and thus His love is never withdrawn from those He has set it upon, because He sees us not as we are, but rather as we are in Christ, and will be in glory. It is a great comfort to us. The reverse view can only lead the believer to mental suffering, anguish, and fear, as they wonder minute by minute if they in fact are still in grace, or whether that last sin put them over the top, and beyond God's favor that they once knew and experienced. Wretched thought, but many sadly live with this insecurity. It is my hope that this list of verses will help anyone who feels this lack of assurance of faith, to come to an understanding that once we are under the umbrella of God's mercy in Christ, we are always dwelling there, and ever within the shelter of the Father's love in Christ.
Here is the list: Job 17:9, Proverbs 4:18, 10:25, Psalm 2:8, 125:2, 102:28, Isaiah 46:10, 54:8, 9, 10, 59:19, 20, 53:10, Jeremiah 32:39-42, Hosea 2:19, 20, Matthew 16:18, 24:24, Luke 22:32, John 4:14, 6:27, 35, 39, 40, 54-58, 1:10, 28, 29, 13:1, 14:16, 17, 19, 17:6, 12, 15, 20, 24, Acts 13:48, Romans 5:21, 8:28-39, 9:23, 11:29; 1 Corinthians 1:8, 9, 6:15-19, 10:13, 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22, 3:3, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 1:13, 14, 4:30, 5:25-30, Philippians 1:6, 2:13, Colossians 3:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, 9, 23, 24, 2 Thessalonians 3:2, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 3:3, 6:17, 18, 19, 1 Peter 1:5, 2:9, 1 John 2:19, 3:9. Soli Deo Gloria,
Soli Deo Gloria,