In the previous article, we left on this question: Why do we consider the topic of eternal security to be important?
On the one hand, there are those who fear that their salvation balances on the edge of a knife. Some people live in the perpetual shadow of believing that the slightest misstep will cause them to lose their chance for having eternal home with God, and that accidentally committing the wrong sin will leave them separated from Him forever.
I can personally testify that this is a miserable way to live, but it stands in stark contrast to the grace and nature of God, even as it ignores the completeness of Jesus’ gift for us. God is not trying to find an excuse to punish us; in fact, He wants people to be saved. He loves us!
Bible passages that are used (by some) to affirm their viewpoint of “eternal security” are helpful to those of us who don’t fully appreciate God’s salvation and His love for us. No matter our viewpoint on eternal security (which again, seems to be a human term, not something directly from the Bible), passages that emphasize the security of our salvation help us remember that God is here to help us remain with Him, and that sinning after we accept Jesus’ salvation isn’t a show-stopper. For a Christian, continuing to struggle – and even lose battles – against sin isn’t ideal; however, it’s not uncommon (see Romans 7:7-25) and it’s covered by the blood of Christ. Once we have chosen to follow Jesus, we must replace fear of God’s punishment with the security of being part of God’s family, and embrace the love that we receive from God.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that a simple prayer or ceremony is all that there is to following Jesus. Yes, we see in the Bible that actions like repentance and confession are part of accepting Jesus in faith, but that isn’t meant to be the extent of following Jesus. He didn’t just call His disciples to merely “get saved”. Rather, He called them to follow Him, which – if we look at His life – includes a lifetime of serving, sharing, and spending time with both God and others.
Whether or not someone is saved if they stop doing anything about their faith, and go back to their previous life (as if nothing changed at all in their attitude, behavior, and outlook due to Jesus), someone making this choice yields little to no value for the cause of Jesus Christ (except perhaps as a cautionary tale). That is, a person who believes that they are saved (i.e., that Jesus is their Savior), but wants nothing to do with Jesus after that (i.e., Jesus is not their Lord), well, that sort of person is not only dead weight in the body of Christ (whether or not they are indeed saved), but they give Jesus a bad name as they continue to live to serve their pride and selfishness, in spite of the cross. As the passage above suggests, they are publicly disgracing Jesus and the cross. The way I see it, Jesus didn’t die to just “get people saved”, but to change their lives completely.
So, don’t worry about your salvation, as long as you have accepted Jesus and still seek to follow and obey Him. I don’t believe that salvation is something to be “lost”, like misplacing our keys or our phone. Even if there are those who willingly decide to give up on Jesus (whether or not they were truly saved previously), this is their choice. If you have already decided to have faith in Jesus, then spend your time developing that faith and living out that faith, rather than worrying about whether it is “enough” for your salvation. After all, your salvation came from the willing sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is definitely enough.
Then, once you have become a new creation, don’t just be a consumer of what God has provided. Don’t waste the new life that God has given you in Christ Jesus. You weren’t made new just so that you could fall back into the old law, or into a former life of sin. Beyond our hope of an eternal home with God, we are saved to serve, and that’s what we should be doing. Take in all of His providence and blessings, and use it to do good things for Him: not to somehow earn your salvation, but to live out your faith.
And, remember that it’s not our job to judge whether or not someone else is “saved”. Those who are in God’s family should be discerning about who we listen to, but our goal should be to help people grow as disciples of Jesus, regardless of where they are in their journey.
Finally, if you are solid on both of these points – that eternal security isn’t something to use as an excuse to abandon Jesus after accepting Him, and a lack of eternal security isn’t something to worry about when serving a loving God – then there may be a time and place for you to study and discuss deeper doctrinal and theological concepts related to this topic. I’m not opposed to Christian thinkers who dig deeply into this subject, and use it to better understand the nature of God and what the Bible is teaching us. I just don’t think that we should ever use this topic to miss out on what healthy, confident Christian discipleship and sanctification looks like!
From Sunday School lesson prepared for November 14, 2021
- The Lookout, November 14, 2021 © 2021 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- The College Press Commentary, Hebrews, by Jim Girdwood and Peter Verkruyse. College Press Publishing Company, © 1997.