Salvation and True Christianity
We have been talking about salvation for the past several weeks, specifically looking at the questions:
What do I need to be saved from?
What must I do in order to be saved?
How do I know that I am really saved and going to heaven?
What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Is it just acknowledging He existed or does Scripture reveal a deeper meaning?
Is it possible to lose your salvation?
What is “assurance of salvation?”
Tonight we are on the last two questions. Before we begin on those, many Bible verses, study Bible notes, articles, videos, and sermons were consulted in order to answer the above questions. Here are some of the highlights:
What Does Jesus Save Us From? by Redemptionforhumanity.org
Why Do I Need to be Saved? by GotQuestions.org
How Do I Know if I’m Really Saved? by John MacArthur on Dial In with Jonny Ardavanis
What Must Someone Believe in Order to be Saved? by John Piper
Can I Know That I am Saved? by Burk Parsons on Ask Ligonier
How to Know For Sure That You are Saved Guaranteed! by Allen Parr
What Does it Mean to Believe in Jesus? by GotQuestions.org
You Need to Believe These Things to be a Christian by Melissa Dougherty
Marks of True Christianity by Clint Pressley at Hickory Grove Baptist Church
What we learned can be summarized in three steps. In order to be saved, we must:
- Realize we are all sinners in need of a Savior. This sin separates us from God and can result in the permanent death of our souls.
Romans 3:23 ESV: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 6:23 ESV: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Receive and believe in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This ultimately means putting our full confidence and trust in Jesus Christ as the only way to reconcile ourselves to God. Jesus is God’s “rescue plan” from our sin and destruction of our souls. When Jesus, the only perfect human ever, died for us on the cross, he bore our sin by becoming the perfect sacrifice. When we believe that He died for our sin and was resurrected, and confess with our mouths that He is Lord, we will be saved from the wrath of God. See What Did Jesus Accomplish on the Cross?
Romans 10:9 ESV: “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
- Believing in Jesus and the gospel will naturally lead to repenting, which means that we are terribly sorry for our sins, and we are going to make a change in our life to avoid sinning in the future. We will have a heart for righteousness instead of a heart for sin. Repenting is necessary for salvation. See What is Repentance and is it Necessary for Salvation?
Matthew 4:17 ESV: “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
While water baptism is definitely encouraged in the Bible and can be an important part of someone’s path to salvation, it is not actually necessary for salvation. See Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
Tonight, we will look at the final two related questions: What is assurance of salvation? Does this mean we can’t lose our salvation once we are saved?
Assurance of Salvation
The assurance of salvation is simply knowing for sure that we are saved. Scripture tells us that God wants us to know we have eternal life (1 John 5:13). However there are also warning passages in the Bible that seem to imply that salvation can indeed be lost, such as Hebrews 6:1-8. Some pastors argue that this passage may indicate that true believers who turns their back on God are committing the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, such as in the sermon linked above, “Marks of a True Christianity.” However, the passage does not say that they can’t be forgiven again, just that they will be unable to repent.
Another short explanation, that passages about apostasy serve as stern warnings, is found in the following video by Dr. Thomas Schreiner of Southwest Seminary. See also Does Hebrews 6:4-6 Mean We Can Lose Our Salvation? for two other interpretations of this warning passage.
At around the 4 minute mark of the video, the argument is presented that some people who appear to “fall away” from Christianity, were likely not true believers in the first place. This is the idea of “false assurance”, where people think they are saved but are not. First John 2:19 (ESV) tells us: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
This passage seems to indicate that not everyone who calls themselves a believer or a Christian, really is saved. Jesus did say in In Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
See Can a Christian Lose Salvation?
Verses about the assurance of salvation:
1 John 5:13 ESV: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
Philippians 1:6 ESV: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
John 10:14-15 ESV: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Romans 8:38-39 ESV: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Revelation 17:14 ESV: “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
As we can see, as believers in Christ Jesus, we have been called and chosen by God. God doesn’t change His mind (Numbers 23:19). He wants us to repent and be changed by the gospel (Revelation 3:19). I leave you with this quote from Pastor Brandon’s Blog: “The Bible does not teach universalism. Many people will perish in the fires of hell, because they reject the gospel. There are only two choices. Either Jesus bore your sin on the cross or you will bear your sin forever and ever in hell.”
Thank You, Heavenly Father, that You opened my eyes to see the purpose for my existence and the importance of focusing foremost on the things of eternity. May I be faithful to share the message of salvation today with others who are yet in blindness. For Your glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have a wonderful week, ladies!
Featured image is from Salvation for All