Can I Lose My Salvation?
“if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
2 Timothy 2:13
Fear. This one word controlled my life for many years. So much so, that even when things were peaceful in my life, I still had this constant feeling of dread…as if something bad has got to happen to me soon. And if I didn’t feel fear, I didn’t feel right–even if I didn’t know what to be fearful of.
There are a lot of contributing factors to this fear-filled mindset I had–even now, with the spiritual skill-set I’ve developed over time, the devil still tries to sneak angst and anxiety through the back door of my soul. However, the Holy Spirit in me points him out. I now recognize his tactics and I overcome his attempts to get me to shrink back in panic.
How have I come to this point? By realizing Who lives in me–God Himself! Once we establish this fact in our souls as Christians, we can then produce a relationship with Him through prayer, meditate on His love for us in Christ, as well as stand boldly on the promises of His Word! But growing up, when my mind was being developed, utter chaos would be the best way to describe my life. I had no defense against the fear in which Satan tormented me with.
My parents fought on a level that no kid should have to deal with. Mom cheated on Dad and was in and out of rehab. And my dad had no real relationship skills except for blowing up on people or ignoring them altogether. Along with the severe stress of having five kids, Mom and Dad couldn’t seem to iron out their problems and eventually both of them lost custody of us after the divorce.
From a very young age, fear was being beat into my mind with a 20-pound sledgehammer. It’s all I knew. “What’s going to happen to us?” was a regular thought. There was no security or stability in my childhood whatsoever, so I naturally thought something bad was always about to happen–because it usually did.
Eventually, my brothers, sister and I were all split up into foster homes and children shelters. The fear that you develop as a small child in those places is heart-wrenching. Sleepless nights was a regular thing because of the steady flow of new kids constantly crying in their bunks, begging to go home. The fights in the halls and the bullying from the bigger kids with severe behavior problems also contributed to the stacking of fear in my young heart. I was scared to even go to the bathroom at night.
But those homes weren’t the only thing which festered fear, you also had the school situation. School is supposed to be an enjoyable and social place to learn and develop lifelong friendships. That doesn’t happen when you are yanked out of a school 3 or 4 times a year, just to be forced into another one.
As a ward of the State, all of the different schools you have to keep going to, while being labeled as “the new foster kid,” or “the children’s shelter kid,” these situations fertilized the fear in my heart on a grand scale. Uncontrollable shaking, sweating, and stuttering became something that I hated about myself. “Why am I like this?!” Back then, I didn’t know. Now I do…Fear.
Eventually, I too developed very bad behavior in class, along with an hard-nosed aggressiveness, just to have a defense mechanism. I also became jealous of the kids who had a normal family, those who didn’t have to move all the time. The bottom line was, not many more things created fear in me as a child, than school.
The devil tried to destroy my life, starting at a very young age.
So let’s fast forward to my late twenties, I’m ready to finally give my life to Christ–completely. I didn’t want to pussy-foot around any longer, I had enough of trying to fix my life, my way. And sure, I was saved as a kid, had I died I would have gone to heaven, but I sure didn’t realize it because of the religious fear shoved into my soul by others over time. Religious fear ruins more lives than we Christians can possibly imagine. No relationship should be based on fear, especially one with your Creator.
The Bible says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom” (see Proverbs 9:10), not the middle, and not the end. My blood pressure rises a little when I think about the Christians who use the “method of fear” to get others to want to get to know God. It’s disgusting.
The fact was, I was almost 30 and my life looked like the landscape of a forest after a major fire; black, burnt, smoldering, and lonely. In order to prove that I was worth something, I became extremely successful in business. Come to find out, that didn’t make me NOT afraid anymore. It was weird. The “American Dream” didn’t fix me. So I decided to just numb these feelings of fear with alcohol, porn, sex, video game binges, and anything else to get my mind off of this deep and constant panic in my heart–nothing worked.
Then I thought going to church would fix me! Nope! What I got at church was a country club of perfect people who didn’t understand someone such as me. I was way too “overly-motivated” according to them. I needed to cool my jets because “God isn’t here to entertain me or to help me achieve my dreams.” Sure, I knew I was an extremely determined individual, but still, I was a person longing for something more. They didn’t accept me for who I was or where I was at in my life; they just yelled out things like, “You ain’t livin’ right!” “Be holy!” And even, “You are supposed to make disciples out of disciples!”…I was like, “How? By being like you? I don’t get it.”
So I was rejected, and rejection creates fear if you allow it to, and then that type of fear creates anger.
I wanted to find peace and confidence in a group of Christians. Instead, what I got at that particular church was conditional “church love”: harsh judgment, cold shoulders, and a steady disturbance in my soul each time I walked out of the door on Sunday after service.
The pastors spoke out of both sides of their mouths, saying such things as, “Believe and be completely forgiven!” And then the next week, “You gotta have EVIDENCE that you’re saved!” Such double-talk. They wouldn’t make up their minds and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t allow my heart to believe their two-time teaching. It was very frustrating. And frustration creates more fear!
“Which is it? Am I completely forgiven? Or do I need to do stuff to make sure I stay forgiven? BE CLEAR!”…They weren’t. They just swept these very simple questions under the rug with confusing Christianese and more “do stuff.” So I pipped up because that’s just who I am. I might not have done it with much grace, but I was still learning how to handle my problems how Christ wanted me to. Eventually I was shunned and asked to “get plugged in at another church.” So I did. Hindsight is 20/20, and I honestly wish I didn’t wait so darned long to move on because the church I’m currently at has been just what I needed–grace. Real, unconditional, unapologetic, grace.
But at my previous church, instead of freedom from fear being–which I desperately longed for–I got a set of rules to follow and a “do better” sheet to fill out. I got religion. Religion ruins lives, creates debilitating fear, as well as anger and self-righteousness. Relationship on the other hand, does not. A relationship with Christ based on your love for Him, and finally understanding your value to Him, will break you free from any and all religious bondages. I had to learn this the hard way.
I got sermons which taught me, “You have no business trying to get God to help you reach your goals in life! That ain’t the gospel! God doesn’t give you seven steps to change your life for the better!” They nit-picked everything good about every other preacher and teacher. They stirred up dissension and judged everyone on a very high level—a level which even they weren’t abiding by. According to them, there had to be proof of my saving through a lifestyle change. And me, being an over-achiever, the cogs began turning in my mind.
“Hmmmmm…okay…What level of good do I need to have? Where is the tipping point of my lifestyle change that will get God to finally approve of me?…I’ll just become the very BEST at this ‘being good’ stuff.”
Legalism ensued, and I began to come off as super-aggressive about “making people” be “good” like me. You know, a so-called “good Christian man,” a “godly man”? Not only did I start pushing God on others tremendously, but I also began to shun and cut off those who weren’t like me because the church said I shouldn’t have anything to do with non-believers or the Christians who didn’t have proof of being a Christian through a lifestyle change. I had become someone I previously hated, a religious Christian–a “church person”–and my life was more miserable than ever. To top it off, my level of fear was deeper than it had ever been before.
I was also subliminally being trained that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t completely good enough, and I had to add to it (do my part) in order to keep my salvation, by confessing every sin. The problem was this: what about the sins I don’t confess, or the ones I forget about, or the ones I overlook and justify, never to be talked about again? Do those not count? I was being taught that God graded me on a curve, based on my performance, and He does not. Jesus has finished everything for me. The Father looks at Him in me. This is where my perfection comes from—Christ actually inside me, not anything my mind or body does.
Thankfully, as I sought out Jesus on my own, I learned that this “confessing of every sin” was Scripture being taken out of context. With this method, why not just sin away and then ask for forgiveness once a day, or once a week, or once a month, or whenever? Sounds pretty dumb. Sounds like a non-relationship, and that’s what I was being taught.
I was told outright that if I didn’t do certain things, or stop doing certain things, or have a higher level of repentance, that I didn’t belong. FEAR. FEAR. FEAR. FEAR. FEAR. FEAR…
I was looking for freedom from fear, and what I got in that church contributed to my fears on a much grander scale! A lie was planted in my soul by Satan himself, “I must live up to the approval of these Christian people, or else I’m not really a Christian.”
So, what happened?…I kept seeking Jesus! I didn’t give up on knowing Him deeply! I knew that He already lived in me, but I wanted to get to know Him more each day! I needed peace, I needed it! I needed released from fear! And something in me kept saying this would be found in understanding who Jesus Christ really is. So I began my own daily personal study of His life, I asked Him to change my life and remove my fear—He has done just that—in spades!
The number one thing Jesus has done is teach me how to replace my fear with His unconditional love for me. This is a by-product of finally understanding my infinite value to Him. Once we understand our value to Him, everything in our lives changes for the better!
Here are some tips that I believe will help you if you struggle with a crippling fear of God—especially if you are afraid of losing your ticket to heaven. Why did I build up to this nearly taboo subject in the manner in which I did? Because the horror of losing your salvation is the number one fear of every Christian who doesn’t fully understand God’s love for them in Christ:
- God’s love for you is perfect, so you have nothing to fear. In 1 John 4, the Bible says that “perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” Once you place your faith in Christ as your Savior, you don’t have to be afraid of hell any longer because you are not going to be eternally punished. You ain’t going there! SO STOP BEING AFRAID! Jesus paid for your release, in full, at the Cross (see John 3:16-18). When you feel like your “saving” is at stake because of mistakes you are making, or lack of religious works, don’t believe it. The devil is “the accuser” (see Revelation 12:10), so no matter what you do, good or bad, he will attempt to pester you in spirit. Simply begin to speak God’s promises over your life when you feel this fear coming on you. Feelings don’t count when it comes to the truth of your salvation–only the facts do. You are saved, once you believe in Jesus’ forgiveness. I repeat, ONCE.
- You only get saved once, not multiple times. Hebrews 10:10, 1 Peter 3:18, and Romans 6:10 are very clear about this. Salvation is a one-time event. Further, the New Covenant is not an agreement between us and God, but a contract between the Father and Son—we are simply the beneficiaries to this contract. We don’t create it, add to it, or sustain it. Instead, we open up our hearts and receive it by grace through faith (see Hebrews 8:13, Ephesians 2:8,9). The good news is, based on this New Covenant of the shedding of perfect blood one final time—which is what God requires for forgiveness, blood, not our asking (see Hebrews 9:22)—God’s wrath over the sin of the world has been completely satisfied at the Cross! The blood of Jesus actually worked! Of course, you still have to accept it by faith—actually believe that Jesus did this for you, and then invite Him into your heart to live—but after that, it’s over. You are saved, no matter your sin—past, present, or future. Keep in mind, all of your sins were in the future when Jesus died. To add on top of this good news, Hebrews 7:25 states that Jesus is able to save us completely as long as He lives—and He isn’t dying again and again in heaven, each time we sin! HE WILL LIVE FOREVER! SO WE WILL STAY SAVED! Lastly, it’s important to know that God doesn’t grade on a curve. James 2:10 makes this perfectly clear: It’s all or nothing if you are trying to obey God’s laws in order to be accepted by Him. To counteract such legalism, the Bible actually says we are adopted into the family of God and marked with a seal until the day of redemption (see Ephesians 1)—we’ve had a DNA swap with Christ! (See Romans 6, Galatians 2:20). So please know you are not kinda adopted into His family, “until you straighten up enough,” and you are not kinda marked with a seal until Christ returns, “if you don’t get enough brownie-points with your pastor”—IT’S FINISHED (see John 19:30).
- Religious Christians will take Scripture out of context to create fear, even after you are saved. First of all, let me define “religious Christians.” I mean no disrespect. I’m simply referring to Christians who find their identity in how much they “do” for God, how “little” they sin, as well as their “level” of repentance. They do not believe Jesus finished everything for us. They think there is more to it than just believing He’s forgiven us of our sins. Religious Christians have created new “laws” by taking Scripture out of context, which have nothing to do with the undiluted grace-filled gospel. These post-Cross laws keep people on a hamster-wheel of religious works of trying to stay in God’s good graces. It’s demonic. They want us to add on to what Jesus has done. They tell us this is the only way to complete our salvation. These actions included churchy laws such as: our works, our behavior/attitude repentance, speaking in tongues, physical baptism, church attendance, church volunteering, mission trips/evangelism, pastoral approval, confession, fasting, tithing, Scripture memorization—I could continue—but the brass tax to these laws are the key words, I do. “Look at what I do to earn my spot with God.” “Look at what I do to keep my spot with God.” Any statement which begins with I do is wrong, and is non-gospel. THE GOSPEL IS ABOUT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE! Everything we now do is because Jesus has done everything for us! So our motivation is a LOVING RELATIONSHIP! We want to show Him that we love Him! That’s it! Nothing more, nothing less! What’s worse is the religious Christians look down on those who aren’t just like them, or striving to be like them. They want you to think that you owe them–you don’t! They may even smile, but deep down, they are bitter, harsh, uber-judgmental, fair-weather friends, who will block you from their lives if you don’t do exactly as they say and fall in line. Fear, guilt, condemnation, and using the Bible as a weapon is their M.O. So recognize them by their fruit, begin to think good thoughts about them—FIND SOMETHING—and pray they will finally come to understand the deep love of Christ. But do NOT be afraid of them. Your salvation is set–once. So look them in the eye with confidence and show them Christ in you.
- There is no part of the New Testament that says a Christian can lose their salvation. This is the wonderful news that sets people free, but the religious Christians hate it because they think everyone will go buck-wild in sin. Which, truth be told, the opposite actually happens when we finally realize we are 100% like Christ in spirit, no matter the behavior of our flesh or lack of mind renewal (my life is proof of this). The Spirit will never lead us to sin. When we sin, which we will a lot, that is not Christ in us but our flesh along with our un-renewed minds. Sinning is not Him—and He is who we are after salvation (see Romans 6, Galatians 2:20). However, these types of Christians will cherry-pick certain Scriptures to try to prove we can lose our salvation. Honestly, they are cutting off their own noses to spite their face because the same grace they are against, they too, will desperately need. But let’s break down a couple of those taken-out-of-context verses. Jesus said, in Matthew 7, “Depart from me, I never knew you,” to the people who were bragging on all they’ve done for Him. But the key word here is never. He never knew them! Instead, all they knew were their religious works, and the “tagging on” of the name of Jesus, after. Here is another: Hebrews 10:26 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,” and this is true, but only for non-believers. The author of Hebrews was saying, “If you hear or read about the sacrifice that Jesus made for your sins, and you reject it, you have knowledge of the truth. That is what is unforgivable.” Why? Because you will keep on sinning, after becoming a Christian, because you are a human being—and God does not grade you on a curve. What shocked me the most about this verse—what had created SO MUCH FEAR in my life—was to finally realize the fact that the entire book of Hebrews was written to…HEBREWS! Jews! Those who kept bringing the blood of bulls and goats back into the temple to be forgiven—even after they heard the gospel! Therefore, this verse is correct, when KEPT IN CONTEXT: “no sacrifice for sins is left.” “Sacrifice,” as in, the blood of animals, NOT JESUS! Hebrews 10:26 is written to those who had taste-tested the gospel (heard about Jesus’ final blood sacrifice as the Messiah), yet these Jews still wanted to hedge their bets on the old way of being forgiven by sacrificing animals when it no longer worked! So please remember that any part of the Bible which makes you think you can lose your salvation, read it in context. Always keep in mind who the audience is, why what’s being written is being written, AND READ ALL AROUND IT. Are believers or non-believers being written to, or about? What you’ll soon realize is God’s love and grace through Christ’s blood supersedes all laws, commands, and fear-filled Scripture! So don’t be afraid of losing your salvation any longer! IT’S YOURS FOREVER!
A prayer for you: Good morning Heavenly Father! It’s very early here as I write, Jennifer and Grace are still nestled in bed; I’m so grateful for them—for my family. Thank you. I’m also grateful for my home, my job, and my good health. Thank you, Lord. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who are extremely fearful of you, begin to wash them with your peace and security, found in Christ, today. Reveal to them your unconditional love. I’m asking for a new protection over their minds against the enemy’s lies which attempt to produce doubts of your real love. And for those who have given up on you because of the false-adverting of a fear-filled gospel taught by others, reveal THE TRUTH to them! Christ in us AS our perfection! Help them to refocus on WHO lives in them the VERY MOMENT they believe He’s forgiven them—Jesus! Help them to realize it’s HIS sacrifice at the Cross which has brought us near to you forever! Establish your grace as the foundation in their hearts—thank you for such grace. Thank you for Jesus. In His name I pray, amen.
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