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  • Writer's pictureGrant Fraley

The security of the believer

 


This issue is passionately debated within Christendom. Can a believer lose their salvation? Once an individual is saved—are they always saved, no matter what (Once Saved, Always Saved)? Like so many issues, people see two sides, black & white, they choose a side and stick to it. However, I have found there are many answers that are found in the gray. In other words, we ask— “is the answer A or B?”—completely ignoring there is a third option, “C”. This is where I stand on this specific issue. I’m intentional with my terminology: the security of the believer. The New Testament offers many wonderful promises to the one who has placed their faith in Jesus for their salvation. On the flip side, there are warnings given to those same believers, in the same document (the New Testament), to continue in the faith.

The New Testament offers both promises and warnings to the believer. If we ignore either of these, we are being Biblically dishonest. First, let me state this: salvation is not a sin issue. In other words, your salvation is not about your performance. Our standing with God doesn’t change based on whether we are currently living in sin. It’s not about our obedience, church attendance, giving, witnessing, praying, reading our Bible, or any other discipline we should develop as believers.


“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)


Years ago, as a new minister, I pondered this topic. The Spirit quickened one word to me in this verse: through. We are saved by grace through faith. Faith is what connects us to God and receives everything He has provided for us by grace. No faith—no grace. It’s not that grace isn’t available, it is! However, faith is the channel through which grace flows. Salvation is a faith issue!

In Christ is the safest place you can be. This a covenant connection that makes all the provisions of the gospel available to you. You enter this place by trusting in Jesus. For the one who has chosen to do so, there are some wonderful promises. Here is one of my favorites:


“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10:28-30 KJV)

In the KJV, the word “man” in verses 28 and 29 are italicized. This means that word isn’t in the original Greek manuscripts. It was added by the translators because they believed it helped clarify what Jesus (or any other speaker) meant. I’m thankful that the translators had the integrity to include this feature in the KJV Bible, so the reader could know when something was added. There are times the italicized word does bring clarification. Many times, however, if you remove the italicized word, you will discover it makes things clearer.

Back to John 10:28-29. As I stated above, the word “man” is not in the original language. In verse 28, when you look up the word any, it can be referring to: any (man, thing, thing at all). Likewise, in verse 29, the word “no” can be referring to: no one, nothing. Therefore, let’s read John 10:28-30 this way:

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any (man, thing, thing at all) pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no one, nothing is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10:28-30, author’s translation)


Another one of my favorite promises of security for the believer is found in John 6.


“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.”(John 6:37-39)


The will of God is that every person who comes to Jesus (places their faith in Him), not be lost. In other words, your job is to come to Jesus. His job is to secure your salvation. Notice, what is being said: when you believe in Jesus, He makes your salvation His responsibility. The good work He begun in you He will complete it. You simply trust Him. These are only two examples about the promises for security given to the believer. You can also look at 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Philippians 1:3-6; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; and Jude 24.

The New Testament also offers warnings to believers. Again, to ignore these warnings or attempt to explain them away would be Biblically dishonest. Here are a few examples:


“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1:21-23)


“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)


What happens if one doesn’t keep their faith in Jesus and places their faith in someone/something else? The Scriptures aren’t abundantly clear. However, that’s not enough reason for us to ignore them. It’s simply an admonition: keep your faith in Jesus. There are also Scriptures that speak about the ability for a believer to “fall away” (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5; 1 Timothy 4:1; and Hebrews 10:26-39).

This isn’t saying that a believer can lose their salvation, nor can they sin away their salvation. However, sin does carry dangerous consequences. When one consistently rejects the leading of the Holy Spirit and continues in sin, their heart hardens (see Hebrews 3:13). It’s possible for this individual’s heart to become so hardened they reject the Lord (see 1 John 5:16-17). The consequences of such an action are ultimately up to and known only by the Lord.

If you’re a believer, you have one simple part to play when it comes to your eternal salvation: keep your faith in Jesus. Keep looking to Jesus (see Hebrews 12:1-2). There is security and assurance for those whose heart remains steadfast in Him. Does anyone truly have an issue with encouraging believers to keep their faith in Jesus? As we look to Him, He takes care of the rest. It is there, we can truly rest.







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