. . .we could live our lives trusting in the unconditional love of God? What a novel concept!
We would know that He loved us no matter what we did. We would experience the ups and downs of life with the blessed assurance that Jesus is there regardless of the situation, that He will never leave or forsake us.
Oh, but wait! That’s “easy grace,” isn’t it? We can’t preach that, can we? Everyone will take advantage of it and do whatever they please because they will know they’re going to Heaven anyway.
Let’s don’t dare preach that, even though the Bible does say we are sealed to the day of redemption.
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby YE ARE SEALED unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
“. . .after that ye believed, YE WERE SEALED with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13
We preachers will have no control over people to make sure they toe the line if we don’t preach that they can lose their salvation. We’ve got to warn people continually to walk the straight and narrow so that they’ll be so scared of hellfire and damnation that they’ll live right.
Really? Is that what makes people live right?
Could it be (hear me out) that what REALLY makes people live right is “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine”? Could it be that if we could rid ourselves of the “He loves me, He loves me not” mentality (based on how well we’re performing right now), we would actually live better lives because of our intense gratitude and love for Him?
Bible teacher Andrew Wommack wrote an interesting book called Spirit, Soul & Body in which he contemplates the novel concept that if we truly get saved (we’re not talking about walking the aisle and shaking a preacher’s hand or filling out a card at the altar or meaninglessly reciting “The Sinner’s Prayer”–we’re talking about being truly born again), we cannot get unsaved. That if you’re truly born again, you cannot get unborn. That if Jesus redeemed you, He’s not going to unredeem you based on your performance.
If we have to be without sin to be able to enter the pearly gates, then why wasn’t the law enough? Why do we need grace? If we sinned, we could just go to the Temple and make the proper sacrifice and we’d be good to go. There must’ve been a need for something more comprehensive–His amazing grace.
And if I couldn’t live good enough to earn salvation, how in the world am I going to live good enough to keep it?
And if committing sin means I am no longer saved, how much sin does it take? Where is the sin-ometer that tells me when a person has crossed the line, has fallen away, has become unredeemed?
I do believe there is such a thing as apostasy. I believe a person can renounce Jesus Christ and blaspheme. I believe someone can leave Christianity and become an adherent to another religion that does not believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Only Door By Which One Can Be Saved. In that case, I believe they cannot go to Heaven.
But then you have to ask: was that person ever truly saved? Maybe they professed a faith in Christianity, the religion, but not Christ, the Savior.
And in the case of apostasy, we’re not talking about just committing sin or backsliding. We’re talking about renouncing all ties to Jesus and refusing to be identified with him. There are many, many backsliders who can tell you that truly God is married to a backslider–that they felt His presence deep in their spirit man even while they were living in outright sin. So if His Spirit is still there, are we saying that these people couldn’t go to Heaven if they died?
Are we saying that a person has to be living a totally stellar life to make it to Heaven if they die suddenly and unexpectedly? As a tree falleth, there will it lie? (And why are we reading Ecclesiastes and quoting a verse about trees to define salvation?) If you get killed in a car wreck and you have something you haven’t repented of, you can’t get to Heaven even though you have been born again?
Hmmm. . .makes it sound as though it’s about works, doesn’t it?
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:6
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Am I saying we can live any old way while here on Earth and suffer no penalty? Absolutely not. First of all, even if Wommack is right and your spirit is sealed no matter what you do, if you live in sin you will pay the price in the body realm–perhaps with sickness, premature death, legal prosecution, jail-time, a horrible quality of life. You will also pay the price in the soul (mind, will, emotions, conscience) realm–with torturous thoughts, a guilty conscience, troubled emotions, no true peace or happiness or joy.
So yes, sin carries with it a huge penalty while here on Earth. And if you believe in differentiation of rewards in Heaven, then sin will also carry a penalty there. A friend of mine recently told me about her belief of how we won’t receive as many crowns or rewards if we did not live holy lives. But it doesn’t mean that we won’t be saved.
“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:14-15
A person who has lived not as holy a life by building wrong things upon the foundation of Jesus Christ will suffer loss–that’s certainly punishment. But he can still be saved, according to the Scripture.
I am convinced that the assurance of the security of eternal salvation will actually make a truly saved person (again, remember that many will say “Lord, Lord” and not enter in because they were never truly born again) live a holier life. The knowledge that Jesus Christ has forgiven us of all sins past, present and future ought to fill us with such a joy and gratitude that we want to do whatever it takes to please Him.
I, who have lived my life under the fearful knowledge that if I don’t perform well as a Christian I will be found wanting on the Judgment Day, have become assured of my salvation for the first time in my life. And it has brought a joy and peace that I have never known before, as well as the desire to live the holiest life possible for the Savior who loved me so.
What if. . .
. . .we accepted the security of our salvation in Christ our Lord and rested in that knowledge without the fear that He will disown us if we are not perfect? What a novel concept!
(More to come about this subject as I discuss my thoughts on “Why repent of sins if we are eternally saved?” “What does it mean you must endure to the end to be saved?” “But can’t He blot out your name from the Book of Life?” I welcome comments because iron sharpens iron, and I believe that challenges to our belief system actually make us stronger. And if we disagree on this subject, please know that I love you all and hope you can still love me.)
Hope you enjoy Chris Tomlin’s song “Amazing Grace”! This video has lovely landscapes in it.