Salvation; can it be lost?
This is a frequently asked question by many Christians (Christ-Ones = The Body of Christ), especially in the early years of their Christian life, and especially after listening to various “teachers” and “preachers” who advocate in their sermons and lectures, that such can be the case!
Before looking at the subject in more detail, it has to be stated, that although there are many respectable teachers, preachers, vicars and priests; very many do not have a Biblical grasp of their subject, and only teach what they themselves have been taught. These people are usually of one Sect or another, or one Church or another, where there is a fixed “doctrine”, which is often not Scriptural, (defined here as conforming to their Bible), which may vary from Denomination to Denomination. See: Veracity of the Bible:
How then to know which Bible is Authentic? The following link gives the writers definition of the True Word of God Almighty. Canon of Scripture.
Working from the Christ Authenticated Scriptures, we can examine what He has to say on the subject in hand.
In Genesis 49, Jacob, who was about to die, gave prophetic comment to his sons. In verse 18, he movingly comments on what his hope is! (“I have waited for Thy Salvation, O Lord”) KJV. The comment is in bkts, which relates it to the previous verse, regarding Dan, which was the first of the Tribes to fall away into idolatry, and relates Dan to “a serpent”!
So; falling away from the will of God Almighty, is related to the “serpent”.
The account in Gen. 3 of the temptation of Eve, and Adam, relates to the perversion of the Words of God by the “Serpent” (Satan), to pervert at that early stage of that Creation, the Truth and veracity of the Word of God, (Satan said to Eve, “Ye shall not surely die” v.4; which directly contradicted God’s Word to Adam and Eve).
Almighty God, at that stage, put in place the solution to the problem of the Serpent’s lie and guile, and his success with Eve. In verse 15; “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel”.
In this verse is The Promise, that at its fulfilment, shall see Christ fully negating Satan’s rebellion against God, after the Serpent had bruised His heel, (at the Calvary Cross)!
It is of extreme importance to notice that it is the woman’s seed, not man’s, to which the prophecy applies. It is also interesting to note, that as Satan (the Serpent) had tempted Eve, not Adam, the solution also in God’s Wisdom, is via (her seed), as only women can give birth! However; in the order of responsibility Ordained by God at Eden, the man Adam, carries the responsibility, as all the instructions for Eden life had been given to him!
The quoted verse 15, did not say anything about people, in the sense that they could help themselves out of the trap of death, which resulted from Eve's and Adam's sin, but God’s solution, and promise! This first occasion shows that mankind cannot undo what entered the world then, death, physical death, the death of the body given by God! However the tempter (Satan) was supernatural; and God provided the supernatural solution in Gen 3:15 (Christ Jesus).
We know from Scripture that there are other levels of existence. Satan himself is of one of those levels. His intention is to be "as God", and in the Loving Plan of God Almighty, Satan is at present being allowed to pursue that objective.
We know from Revelation that he has converted to himself a third of all Heaven's angels, and at the earliest stage of the new Creation on Earth by God, he is successful with the first two inhabitants!
In God’s timing, He chose a people for Himself, Deut. 7:7-9 ("Israel; My Firstborn son"). They all came from one man, Abram, later called Abraham. His descendant Jacob, later called Israel, had twelve sons, who make up the twelve Tribes of Israel. The grouping became a Nation after they had been delivered from Egypt. That delivery was as a result of the contest between Moses and Pharaoh, which resulted in the Angel of Death “passing over” all the households of Egypt. The Jews who had smeared the blood of a “perfect lamb” obediently onto the lintel and side posts of their doorways, were passed over untouched by the angel. Those that did had not, lost the firstborn in their household to death! That of course meant that Pharaoh, and all of his people, lost their firstborn, both of their children and of their animals!
In the Feasts of Israel, this is known as Passover; because the Angel of Death passed over the Jews, because they had obeyed the voice of Jehovah via Moses! They were given the Rules by which they should live as a Nation, called the Ten Commandments etc.
They promised to live by the Rules, and also not to marry the women of the local tribes in Canaan, as they were linked to Pagan practices, and races of peoples with a spiritual and physical anti-God history. They were also given the commission by God to witness to these peoples, and to all they came into contact with, as to the only True God Jehovah Zebaoth, which they promised to do!
They failed on all counts, and in fact joined themselves to the local tribes and their abominable pagan practices! God on numerous occasions forgave them, and gave them “atoning” sacrifices and procedures to allow them to continue to survive, which were a pre-curser to the “Atonement” by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary!
God had made promises to their forefathers, one of which was that they would never be annihilated as a people, and that He would provide a solution (a way of Salvation) for His people! There are many references to this promise in the Old Testament (OT), and again in Gen. 49:8-10, and the Tribe of Judah is named as the source of the Saviour; the One promised in Gen. 3:15!
The result of the sin of Israel, is death, not the first physical death, which all people must undergo, and is as a result of the successful temptation of Adam and Eve; but the second death, which is controlled by Almighty God, and is after the “Great White Throne Judgement” mentioned in Rev. 20.
The question may well be raised, what has all this got to do with Salvation now? Everything. The ultimate solution to the Eden fall, as shown in Gen. 3:15, is in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He came, as is shown in the New Testament (NT), by a woman called Mary, who was chosen by God (the seed of the woman), to bear Jesus, after conceiving Him “by the Holy Spirit”, and remaining a virgin, until after His birth! She was of the line of Judah, and of King David, as per. Prophecy, as also was her husband to be Joseph. Jesus was therefore of no Earthly father! He was/is in fact The Son of Almighty God Himself, (Luke 1:35)!
Here is the delicate nub of the matter. The Christian Bible states in Luke 1, that Gabriel told Mary she would conceive a child by "The Holy Ghost", that the Father was to be none other than God, v35, and that His name was to be "Jesus"! The name, “Jesus” (Heb. Hoshea, Num.13:16) is correctly translated; "God our Saviour", or "God who is Salvation".
The NT attests that He is the “Chosen One”, the “Elect One”, The Messiah (Grk. Christ) of God, and as Messiah, “Immanuel” God with us, Isa. 7:14!
When Jesus was on the eighth day to be circumcised, a man called Simeon came to Him in the Temple, as he had been promised by God that he would see His Salvation before he died, and his beautiful words confirmed the many prophecies; “Lord (Master), now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: for mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation”, (Luke 2:25-38).
Thirty-three years later, Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross outside Jerusalem, at a place called Golgotha, and after His Resurrection on the Third day and as the “first fruit” to God the Father (1Cor.15:23), became the “substitute” offering to God, in the place of Israel and all their failure and sin, and all mankind and their failure and sin (Acts 28:28), to all who would/will receive it!
Until Acts 28:28, the Gentiles were not subject to the Law of the Jews. They are still not subject to the Law, but are subject to a decision for or against Christ in their lifetime; who is the completion of the Law!
What is the essential element of Salvation? In the account given in John 3:1-8, Jesus Himself gives the clear definition. In verse 5, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born (begotten from above) of water (the spiritual water) and the spirit, he cannot (is not able) to enter into the Kingdom of God”.
Verse 6 is emphatic: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”!
So we know that there is a Spiritual rebirth. So how does this take place, and what happens when it does? The provision as shown for the Jews is similar to what is required now!
When Jesus died on the Calvary Cross, He gave His life as a substitute for many! At that time Israel was the main focus for this provision, but they as a Nation rejected The Sacrifice, and would not accept that God had sent His “Only Begotten Son”, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth! Many individual Jews accepted/accept Him as Saviour, and are now in the position of being in “The Body of Christ”. The Nation would not, and in the event, are now rejected by God, for a time period. This is well described in Acts 28:28.
In Acts 28:28, the refusal of Israel, opened the door for the Salvation to be offered to the Gentile Nations, as prime receivers, and that has been the case since approx. AD 62!
So; any person can open themselves to the “rebirth” described above, at which point the Spirit of Christ indwells the person, which is the 'gift' of God in Christ! That indwelling brings a change in the person, they have new priorities, their minds change, and the rest of their lives become a new sort of striving; to be more Christ like, and to have His Mind!
At the same time as the “new birth”, the individual is “sealed in Heaven” (2Cor.1:22) and (Eph.1:13 & 4:30), to await the completion, after they have given up their Earthly body! This "sealing in Heaven" is the core of this subject, as to whether Salvation can be lost, see comments below.
This “new birth” is totally personal between Christ and the individual! Although there may be ceremonial surrounding the event, such as a witness water Baptism, this is not essential to Salvation, only the heart of the individual together with Christ, know the Truth, and no person, or Earthly authority has any part or say in the matter. In fact, when seeing the history as shown above, only the Provision of God is successful, which is why Christ is called “The Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the World” (John 1:29) and (Isa. 53:7); (the Passover Lamb)!
Many teachers, pastors as well as many Christians generally try to say that a person can lose their Salvation, and they will use (misuse) Scriptures taken out of context, and even out of “Dispensation”, to try to convince people. Their motives are wrong, and often it is to coerce and control people into one action or another, which is to control people for wrong reasons! However, many are sincere in their doubts, because their leaders and teachers cannot/will not use Scripture properly in context, to show the proper meaning.
All of a Christ-Ones actions are reviewed by Christ Himself at what is called by some “the Bema” judgement, which is one of cleansing and/or reward, not loss of Salvation, (2Cor. 5:10) and (Rom.14:10).
So; from the Scriptures we see that a Christ-One (Christian), who has truly taken Christ into their hearts, as “The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the World”, who was slain for our sin and sins on the Calvary Cross on the eve of Passover approx. 2000 years ago, is saved from death (the second) and “is passed from death unto life eternal” (John 5:24)!
This Salvation is not contingent on anything we can do, except give our will! It is not linked to water Baptism, or any work or deed of ourselves, in fact all of our efforts are as “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6)!
This knowledge gives freedom to the Christ-One, which liberates them from the minds and rules of men! In Christ we are “free indeed”!