“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (Joh 6:39)
The debate often centers on one question, “Can anyone who has truly been born again actually lose their salvation?”
The answer is simple, ‘No one who has a true heavenly birth can ever be lost.’
This is really a sad issue for anyone who lives with an uncertainty about their salvation in Christ. The problem isn’t simply with the believer. It is also an issue of the pulpit. Many believers live in fear of losing their salvation because of how salvation is presented in the pulpit.
Does this shock you? Let’s talk about it.
Breaking the Chains of Fear
The bottom line is that God doesn’t want his children to live in fear of losing their salvation. When a person is saved, they are eternally saved. Salvation is not our work. The work of salvation is God’s work from alpha to omega.
No one is accidentally born into the kingdom of God. Every birth is planned.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (Joh 6:37)
Do you see any uncertainties in what Jesus said? Look at it closely. Pay close attention to the, ‘will come’, and, ‘will not’.
One day Jesus will say this to all creation -
“Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.” (Heb 2:13)
Jesus came into our world with a stewardship from the heavenly Father. Listen carefully to what His stewardship was about -
“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 Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “ (Joh 6:38-39)
What did Jesus say the will of the Father was? Read it closely. Did you pick up on the statement, ‘That I lose nothing.’
For Jesus to lose one person who truly believed in Him, could only mean that He broke the Father’s will for Him. And if He broke the Father’s will about our salvation, then none of us could be saved. Lose one. Lose all. Save one. Save all.
That is the equation.
When Jesus lifted His eyes to the heavenly Father in what we often call the prayer of our Great High Priest, this is what He said:
“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.
“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.’” (Joh 17:1-5)
Is there a key to all this? Indeed there is.
The Work of Salvation is Not Our Work
The apostle Paul was well convinced the work of salvation in any believer’s life would be perfected by God Himself. This is because the work of salvation is God’s work. He never left it in the hands of men.
Here is where it began to be real for me –
A Story to be Told – When God Speaks
Here is a brief testimony to help put a face on my first step in realizing what the security of the believer means. It was 1974.
I had just resigned from my former church affiliation. The following morning at my office it was like a dark cloud had settled over me. I felt an aloneness that I was not accustomed to. What will I do? Where do I go?
Falling to my knees, I instinctively reached for my Bible. The pages fell open to Philippians 1:6, where I read,
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The ‘Sun of righteousness’ had risen over me. The cloud vanished. No more fear. No more uncertainty. I knew in my heart everything was alright. The Spirit of the Lord came to my aid. My future was well cared for.
And that was only the beginning. Where I once served in an organization that preached no security for the believer, my whole soteriological (doctrine of salvation) thinking changed.
The more I studied the Scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit, the more I began to realize that the security of a believer is well founded in the Scriptures.
Salvation is all about God Himself.
Salvation is an, ‘I will see you through’, Promise
Jesus has come to my aid untold myriads of times on my pilgrim journey. But He does the same for all who belong to Him. Did He not say, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” That, dear friend, is an unconditional promise.
This is where we need to understand Biblical promises.
Conditional promises are based upon some action on our part. Unconditional promises are based upon something God has promised with no aid from us. These are the, “I will” promises of God.
An example of a conditional promise is found in Luke 6:38 -
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luk 6:38)
A conditional promise is God’s way of teaching us how to walk with Him. Not so with unconditional promises.
Unconditional Promises are Different
Unconditional promises are generally summed up as redemption promises. These kinds of promises are ‘from God, through God, and to God’ promises. They cannot be broken by believers simply because we have no role to play in them. They are based entirely on the sovereignty of God.
These ‘never-ever’ promises serve as the bedrock of our walk with the Lord. One of the very last things Jesus said to the disciples was, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt28:20)
An example of an unconditional promise is John 10:27,28 -
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (Joh 10:27-28)
Read that statement carefully. Don’t try to add anything to it or take anything away from it. Jesus meant exactly what He said.
Of course you will always hear the thwarted say, “But you can walk out of His hand.”
How idiotic is this. Listen to the language. Jesus said that no one could snatch His sheep out of His hand. Is anyone bigger than God?
It’s Not Your Grip
Many Christians see the strength of their walk in how strong their grip is on God. This is not what Jesus is saying. The safety for a child of God does not depend on his or her grip. It rests entirely in the hands of the Lord. Jesus said, “No one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Here are a few more of these ‘never-ever’ unconditional promises:
“…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
“…everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26)
“[God's] Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.” (1Co13:8)
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39)
Each of the afore promises has its own teaching platform. But the issue never changes. Our salvation in Christ is eternal. Our salvation is based entirely on the will of God.
These unconditional promises relate to God’s redemption plan that was set forth before the beginning of time. To say that God is unjust or unfair is not true in the least. It is merely that we are unable to understand things that are finite. God is perfectly just in all His ways.
It all has to do with …
The Heirs of God
Paul gave some insight into this area, when he said,
“We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to [God's] purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” (Eph1:11)
Notice Paul did not say it was our will at work. It is God’s will that is at work. This is why you can be sure that nothing happens in a believer’s life by chance.
The apostle John certainly agrees. He said that our birth from heaven was not a thing of our will. He says,
“[We] were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)
When we were born again, it is because God opened our ears to hear, and placed in our heart to respond. We see this being worked out in a lady named Lydia. It says,
“A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshipper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” (Acts 16:14)
The Story of a Man Called Peter
We also see this idea of our salvation being God’s work and not our work in the life of a man called Peter. Peter had denied the Lord three times. Was that the end of the story?
Jesus sought him out, restored him fully, and gave him the privilege of preaching the gospel at the very place where Peter became fearful of his life.
Also keep in mind what the Lord said to the 70 who returned and were rejoicing over all the miracles that took place through the name of Jesus. What was the Lord’s response? He said,
“Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are recorded in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
Their names had already been recorded in heaven.
This holds true for every person who is born of God. Paul wrote:
” just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Eph 1:4)
Have you caught the point in all this?
— Regardless of how well we think we understand the mystery of our salvation, the fact remains that God’s unconditional promises do not rest upon how well we are able to do, or how much we understand.
Unconditional promises are not performance promises. Each of these promises rest upon God Himself. When He says that He will never desert us or forsake us, that promise cannot be broken.
Yes, we all struggle over this. How can God give such promises? After all, I am such a bummer of a person. There is no good in me. So we ask, “Why me, Lord? What have I ever done?”
You did nothing to deserve salvation. About the best any of us can do is write songs about all this.
Here is one of my Gospel Psalmists songs that you may enjoy. It poses the eternal question, ‘What Kind of Man is This?’
The Message Never Changes
The message from heaven never changes. While we love the Lord with a love that cannot be measured, John wants us to understand something very special when he writes,
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1Jn4:10)
Think about these things. Feel free to make your comments or ask questions.
Always in Christ Jesus,