I believe in eternal salvation. I have a few family members that don’t and that’s okay. I don’t worry about them because even thought our views differ some, I know that they believe in salvation. The Bible says we must be born again (John 3: 3) to see the kingdom of God. Jesus said he was the only way (John 14:6) As long as you understand that there is only one way, and that is through the Cross, to Heaven, I’m good. I don’t feel the need to persuade you to my personal views and interpretations of the Bible. Note I said “my” views and interpretations. There are people proclaiming the name of Christ who are claiming things that are clearly not Biblical and trying to twist scripture, even changing, and omitting in some newer versions, to justify their lifestyles. I won’t get into my views on different Bible versions here, but I will say if the version you are reading has completely changed or omitted parts, that’s not “progressive” Christianity, that is changing things to suit your needs and it is a lie from the pit of hell. God does not change.
I know there are many people who profess salvation who have never lived a life you can see Jesus in, never lived a life of obedience, and never seemed to be bothered by it. I don’t believe those people are lost again. I believe they were never saved. The Bible tells us more than once that not everyone who claims to know Him really does. I believe if you truly came to a saving knowledge of Christ, there would be a difference in your life. You may still have some struggles, you may fall back into the world for a time, but there would be something different. I also believe, because the Bible tells us He disciplines those who are His, that if you live the way you want after professing the name of Christ without being bothered at all, you aren’t His. I don’t believe these people are lost again; I believe they were never saved to start with. However, you view it, never saved, or lost again, the solution is still the same…. they need Jesus!
We can know no one’s heart. The Bible tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. I was recently part of a testimony project for a ministry I’m involved in and one of the amazing things I’ve learned through that is that everyone’s story is so different and unique. Your story of how you came to Christ, and you walk with Him will be like no one else’s. We cannot know someone’s heart. The Bible tells us we can know someone by the fruit they bear. And because of that we tend to be quicker to judge those who are obviously not living a Christ like life. Don’t forget that only God can separate the wheat and the tares. That means that some fruit will look very genuine. My grandmother was a church member and even a pastor’s wife before she got saved. I’m sure her fruit looked very genuine. She had even fooled herself into thinking she was okay.
I’m digressing a little. I wanted to talk about that person who you have seen Christ in, who you see getting “whipped” as they live a life not consecrated to Him, is that person lost again, never saved, or a “backslider”? I don’t know and neither do you. We don’t know anyone’s heart and even though we can use that old “fruit inspector” saying as a guide, that isn’t fool proof. But whatever their situation is, what they need is the same…. Jesus.
As I said at the beginning, I believe in eternal salvation. I believe in it because if we were in danger of losing our salvation, in my opinion, we’d be back living under works and not grace. Sin is sin. We tend to judge those who are obviously living an ungodly lifestyle…. Alcohol, drugs, sex outside of the bonds of marriage, even things outside of legal bounds. But is that different than the white lies and other “little” things we do that don’t line up with God’s Word? It may be in that the first set of sins often hurt others and that those sins are more obvious, so if we commit them after proclaiming Christ, we are hurting His cause. Otherwise, sin is sin. If the person who has proclaimed salvation but then fell back into a worldly lifestyle dies before repentance goes to hell, will the Christian who is living a Godly lifestyle as far as his works (i.e., attends church, works in his church, doesn’t life a sinful lifestyle) but is practicing idolatry regularly also go to hell?
Almost every Christian I know, including myself, has practiced idolatry, the act of putting ANYTHING before God. Very few of us are 100% sold out to Christ. Do you know how I know? The world would be different if we were. We like to put the blame on that on those “backslidden” or “lost again” (depending on your belief) Christians, but I think it rests much more on us “living right” Christian. We can be “living right” and still be lost. We can be saved and “living right” and still not be putting God first. If God were first, he’d be first in our financial decisions, marriage decisions, career decisions or any life decisions; in the guidance we gave our children, the first One we’d seek when we needed guidance. If God were first, He’d be evident in every aspect of our lives; not just the “public” aspects such as church attendance and lifestyle, but also in those more private aspects like prayer, studying His Word, letting Him have control.
I started out to explain why I believe in eternal salvation. But I think it ended up saying a lot more. I know it probably rambled a bit, so let me summarize:
I. Not every one who professes to know Christ really does.
2. We can’t know anyone’s heart. We can look at that fruit they produce, but even that won’t always be an accurate gauge.
3. If you believe in eternal salvation or not, all that really matters is that you believe in salvation!
4. Rather someone has never truly met Him or become a Prodigal child, their answer is still Jesus.
5. The answer to all of our needs is Jesus. Even if we are saved and living a life of outward obedience, most of us do not put God first in our lives. If we did, we would change the world. We think much more of our own needs that what He needs from us. Idolatry, the act of putting anything before God, is sin.