The greatest joy in life is confidence in your eternal destiny. Everyone is born sinful and under condemnation (Rom. 5:12). We prove that because we sin against God and show it by our sins against others. Many trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, because they believe He died on the cross for their sins. They believe He was the Son of God and lived a perfect life. They believe He went to the cross, became sin, and even though He knew no sin, when we accept Him as our Savior, we become the righteousness of God in Him. Some struggle, however, because when they sin, they think they have lost their salvation. Can a person who genuinely trusted in Jesus Christ, who showed fruit in their life, actually lose their salvation?
Remember, you did nothing for salvation. When you trusted in Jesus Christ, you made a non-meritorious decision (which means there is no merit given to you for your decision) and God did the work of saving you. Remember what John wrote about what happened when you accepted Jesus and how you had no part in the saving action,
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 NKJ)
God gives you the right to become a child of God, but He still controls that right and He does the work. Notice in John 1:13 that you were saved first, “not of blood,” meaning you cannot be saved because your parents are saved; secondly, “nor of the will of the flesh,” meaning no person on earth can do anything in order to save you, and thirdly, “nor of the will of man,” meaning your own decision does not save you, but only God’s work. However, Scripture does say you must believe, so what happens is your faith is the spark that God takes and regenerates you with eternal life. You are not saved by your decision, but you cannot be saved without your decision.
Remember also, there were no works you could do for salvation. Paul wrote, “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.” (Eph. 2:8-9 NKJ) Paul is very clear that a person cannot do anything for salvation – “not of works.”
Actually, there are only two kinds of religions in the world. All the religions in the world can be categorized under one of two words. The first word is “do.” In fact, all the religions, except one, of the world can be filed under this word. All of those religions depend on what the person does. It may be his “relative goodness” or his “good works” or his prayers, but they are all dependent on the person doing or following a set of rules.
Under the second word is the other category of religion, which is not a “religion” at all. A religion is based on what man does before a god. This other category is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and is based on the second word “done.” That religion is based on what Jesus has “done” on the cross on behalf of the entire world. There is nothing you can “do” for salvation. Because there were no works that you could do for salvation, there is nothing you can do to lose your salvation.
Furthermore, as Ephesians 2:8 is recorded in the Greek, the phrase “been saved” is the strongest way you can say an action was completed in the past with results that continue on in the future. It’s called a perfect periphrastic. You are saved, with the results that you will always continue being saved. Therefore you cannot lose your salvation.
Additionally, there are several supportive passages that should give a Christian confidence in his salvation. The acrostic FISHLEGS is used in order to remember the different designations. FISHLEGS stands for Family; Inheritance; Sealing; Hands; Logical; Election; Grammar; and Sovereign approaches to eternal security.
First, the Family approach guarantees you will always be a child of God, once God has adopted you into His family. John wrote, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12) And in the book of Hebrews, the writer recorded,
11For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” 13 And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.” (Heb. 2:11-13)
Jesus calls you His brother.
Secondly, the Inheritance approach guarantees the good works you completed in the power of the Holy Spirit are secure in heaven. Peter wrote, “3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Pet. 1:3-4) Your rewards earned by the power of the Holy Spirit are kept secure in heaven, awaiting your arrival.
Thirdly, the Sealing approach confirms the work of the Holy Spirit for you. Paul wrote, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph. 1:13) That seal cannot be broken until after you are secure in heaven.
Fourthly, the Hands approach proclaims God’s almighty grip on your life. John wrote, “28And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:28-30) When both the Father and the Son hold you firm, you cannot be snatched out and you cannot jump out of His grip.
Fifthly, the Logical approach gives even the intellectual proof of God’s eternal salvation. Paul wrote, “38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39) If nothing can separate us from God’s love as a child of God, then we will be eternally secure.
Sixthly, the Election approach looks at God’s choice in eternity past of your salvation. Because God chose you in eternity past, you cannot be lost in eternity future. Paul wrote, “…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Eph. 1:4) God’s election means that one day the elected person will trust in Jesus Christ and his salvation is always accomplished.
Seventhly, the Grammar approach verifies the truth of written revelation. Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8) This was explained above.
And eighthly, the Sovereign approach clarifies that God can determine what will come to pass. Paul wrote,”28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:28-30) Each of the five verbs are stated as if the events have already been completed, even though they are yet future for many of us. In God’s mind they are a finished reality.
The above truths should give you confidence regarding your salvation. They should not, however, be an excuse or license to sin. On the contrary, they should motivate you to the highest pursuit of His righteousness and His kingdom so that others might enjoy what you have as you share those truths with them. Any Christian that takes a less that fervent resolve for holiness is missing out on the blessings God wants him to have in the present and in the future.