Christians generally fall into two categories when it comes to salvation: eternal salvation (once saved always saved) or conditional salvation (salvation based on sanctification according to His will). I fall firmly into the latter. The Bible is clear in its teaching that while he will never walk away from us, we most certainly can walk away from him. 2 Peter 2 comes to mind. He talks about being misled by false prophets who blaspheme Christ. 2 Peter 2:20-21 clearly states, “For if, after having escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last condition has become worse unto them. than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness, than after they had known it, to turn from the holy commandment which had been given them.
According to this passage, we can most certainly turn our backs on our salvation, and it goes even further, stating that it is even worse to turn our backs than if we had never been saved in the first place.
The catalyst for this article came this morning after a particularly weak moment. In the spirit of complete transparency, I wept prayerfully over personal failure, then immediately went to my Bible. I worked my way through the New Testament and, to my surprise, my journey took me to 1 John this morning. 1 John is talking about loving and abiding in Christ, not in the world. He says if we really love him, we will keep his commandments. 1 John 2:1-6 says, “My little children, I write these things to you so that you do not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. And by that we know that we know him if we keep his commandments. He who says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but he who keeps his word, in him the love of God is truly perfect. By this we can know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him must walk as he walked. It is a clear cry for sanctification. In other words, we cannot be one with Christ and continue to sin.
As I continued to read 1 John, I reached the 5th and final chapter. I became emotional again. 1 John 5:13-15 says, “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. And it is the trust that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in all that we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
What an incredibly heartwarming passage that speaks of the incredible love of Christ. He wants us to know and trust him and, by extension, to know that if we live according to his will, we will live with him forever. He goes on to say in verse 18, “We know that whoever is born of God does not continue to sin, but whoever is born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” The key phrase here is “keep sinning.” We will absolutely sin because we are human. It’s inevitable. However, those who are born again in Christ will repent and turn from their sin. They do not continue to sin while claiming to remain with Him.
By understanding our need for sanctification, we can fall into the trap of guilt and fear of losing our salvation each time we are wrong. The running joke is that we “get saved” over and over again. We might joke about it, but we actually entertain the thought that we have lost favor with God. At least I know. But God never wanted us to live in constant fear of hell. We have an eternal advocate in the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 says, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” When we repent of our sins and dedicate ourselves to Christ and His plan for our lives, we will find that we struggle no longer in the same way. When we pray and constantly feed on the Word, it has a profound effect on how we live our lives.
Before Jesus was crucified, He told His disciples that He would send them a helper, which was the Holy Spirit. John 16:12 says, “I still have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak of himself, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will shew you things to come. The Holy Spirit helps us recognize and reject sin, and calls us to repentance when we participate in sin. We always have this bridge to the Father, even in our weakness. He helps us despite our weakness; He never leaves us.
Accepting the free gift of salvation was never meant to be a life sentence for fear of failure and overwhelming guilt. Walking in step with God simply means relying on Him as the source of our joy and strength. He is faithful to forgive us whenever we come to him in humble repentance. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly pain produces repentance leading to salvation without regret, while worldly pain produces death. When He forgives our sins, they are forgotten. Our sin is not held above our heads as guilt and shame. His salvation frees us from these strongholds. We must trust this and not allow the enemy to hold onto us something that Christ has already erased! Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; therefore stand firm and submit yourselves no longer to the yoke of slavery.
Submit your ways to Him and trust in His sacrificial love for you.
Erica Caudill is a lifelong Christian who leads a Blog. She is married and the mother of two children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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