“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I love Chonda Pierce. Some of the stuff she says in her stand-up comedy routines makes me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. Recently I was watching her and she said something that not only made me laugh, but made me think:
“I got saved 342 times growing up. If there was lightning outside, I got saved. If there was a cute boy at the altar, I got saved again. I ain’t stupid.”
Ha! That’s good stuff! It’s funny because it’s true in how Christians think when we are taught wrong about our salvation. I understand Chonda’s background because I’ve seen the documentary about her life, Laughing In The Dark. She grew up in a very scary home–her dad was a preacher, a very legalistic one–and legalism creates fear. Legalism is demonic.
The enemy wants nothing more than for us to believe we are not who we really are as God’s children. He wants us fearful, confused, and afraid. He doesn’t want us to know that we are saved. Christians are saved people! Saved from what? From hell.
If he can cause us to be unsure about our true supernatural identity, he can then wreak havoc in our lives. We will stress out and strain harder–trying to earn or even sustain our salvation–based on what we do or don’t do.
The devil knows we will live out who we believe we are. If he can get you to think you are going to hell, he knows you will live that way. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is always attempting to teach us that we are secure forever! He too knows we will live out who we believe we are! But until we allow Him to latch onto our thought life with His grace, we will say, “But what about–” all day long.
As the Spirit of Christ Himself, He gently chips away at our “But what abouts.” Our incorrect theology of “I gotta do!” “I gotta stop!” “I gotta this and that so God will stay pleased with me!” To those things He says, “Stop worrying. I’m enough. I’m in you.” Jesus wants us to remove the I’s from our “But what abouts” and replace them with Him.
For some, even reading about this subject will muddy up the waters in their mind. Why? Bad teaching. Fearful teaching. Conditional grace theology. Behavior centered presentations rather than identity focused lessons. And I get it, I’ve been there. The way I got there was by trying so hard to keep my salvation I just about killed myself. When a Type A personality gets a hold of legalism, bad bad stuff happens. Debilitating burn-out happens.
Really, that’s all it takes. Spiritual burn-out. Trying so hard to keep what you already have until you realize you aren’t even the one keeping it–and you never have been–this wakes a person up!
We are saved once! Jesus saved us! Jesus keeps us saved! What He did was more than good enough to accomplish this feat, and to maintain this feat! When we got saved most of us didn’t even realize what He had truly done! But He did it anyway!
So for the people who push the idea of us being able to lose our salvation, they are wrong. We have it, or we don’t. These same confused folk will say, “Yeah, we might get saved once, but we have to be forgiven daily!” They don’t understand that our one-time saving is the same event as our one-time forgiveness. Being saved is being forgiven. We don’t get saved multiple times nor do we get forgiven multiple times.
Because they are focused on themselves and not Jesus, they have many more rebuttals to everything I just wrote. Here’s a few of them, and my own replies:
- They will claim God will spit us out of His mouth based on Revelation 3:16. The entire book of Revelation is symbolic. From beginning to end it reveals what will happen to those who have placed their faith in Jesus, and ultimately, those who reject Him. It also lets us know what will happen to the forces of hell. Guess what? WE WIN! So when a person claims God is spitting Christians out of His mouth, that’s just not true. This passage is a picture. Because of the New Covenant, even if God did spit us out of His mouth, He’d slurp us right back up. This verse is saying, “Don’t be passive. Be something. Be hot or cold, but don’t be in the middle, lukewarm.” The previous verse even says so, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other” (Revelation 3:15). Nobody enjoys a lukewarm drink. We want a cold drink when it’s hot, and a hot one when it’s cold. This verse is saying, “Please, use your deeds to make a difference for heaven’s population.” It’s not saying, “Get to work or you will lose your salvation.” Remember, we got our salvation for free to begin with (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
- They will say if we deliberately keep on sinning we will lose our salvation based on Hebrews 10:26. First off, all sins are deliberate, and all Christians sin. We can attempt to belittle our sin, compare our sin to others–or worse, try to hide it–but God does not grade on a curve. We must be perfect! Jesus said so Himself! (See John 8:11, Matthew 5:48). The good news is, our perfection only happens by way of spiritual death and resurrection through believing in Jesus’ forgiveness (see Romans 6:6-7). Godly perfection does not come through behavior repentance. Polishing up a turd does nothing. It’s gotta be flushed. You must become new on the inside, in your spirit. So in context, Hebrews 10:26 was written to the unbelieving Jews, not to Christians. Yes, several parts are written specifically to Christians (they are addressed as beloved or friends), but not this verse. Further, why do you think the name of the book is called Hebrews? The author talks about Hebrew issues–not Gentile issues–primarily the Jewish sin of unbelief in Jesus as Messiah. Some of the Jews did believe in Jesus, but some refused. This is an evangelistic passage to the unbelievers. It was for those who had taste-tested the gospel and said, “No, thank you.” It was for those who heard about such grace but fell away from it–those who never fully accepted Jesus! Legalism sounded better to them, Mosaic legalism. The author was saying, “You’ve heard about Messiah with your very own ears, yet you want to keep going back to the temple to get forgiveness from animal blood. That won’t work any longer. Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin.” That’s why they wrote, “No sacrifice is left!” If you keep reading all the way to verse 31, you’ll understand the context. This passage is not talking about Christians sinning their way out of being forgiven. If that were the case, Jesus’ blood was very weak.
- They will claim we can turn our backs on God. John nips this in the bud in 1 John 2:19. He says, “They went out from us because they were never really a part of us,” as in, they never really believed in Jesus. Lots of people like to dress up and play church. They want a sin management program and a conservative country club to join. However, outside appearances and going to a specific geographical location does not mean a person has accepted Christ’s forgiveness. They might have accepted religion, but not a graceful faith in the Cross. Be sure to know, countless amounts of people have headed for the hills away from church, but not away from Jesus. He went with them. They are not un-churched, but de-churched. They’ve had more church than they can possibly stand so they leave and never come back. They couldn’t put on a show for one more second, attempting to impress the hierarchies. Church was a lot more difficult than first advertised. However, just because they left, that does not mean they weren’t saved. It just means they want nothing to do with judgmental people and legalism any longer. They want freedom. Not freedom to sin, but freedom from those who think their sins are not as bad. They were looking for help with their pain, but their pain was doubled up with conditional love and ultimatums–so they left. They were taught church, not the New Covenant, and not their new identity. But even though these saints don’t grace the doors of a building on Sunday, this doesn’t mean they’ve turned their back on God. Why? Because God will never turn His back on them! He is in them! Just look! “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
There are many more excuses the grace-confused people will use, it’s very sad. And you can tell if they are really confused about God’s grace because they will get mad about His grace. Crazy, right? They are upset about the very thing keeping themselves eternally secure.
“You better be careful with that grace!” they’ll say. Yet that grace is the branch they are sitting on, high above hell and from their own demise.
Friend, the gospel is this: “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). The reason why we will stay saved–once and for all time (see Hebrews 10:10)–is one main reason.
JESUS WILL NEVER DIE AGAIN!
If He dies, yes. If He doesn’t die again, no. Your life is His life! So be confident in His ability to stay alive! He is God! You are saved! That is, if you believe He has forgiven you. Do you?
A prayer for you: Good morning, Dad. I want to thank you for teaching me the truth of my identity, I am your son! I’m no longer a slave to the fear of hell, but instead, I’m confident in what Jesus did for me–and is still doing for me–staying alive! Nothing can change this, not even me! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them have been manipulated with religious fear. Let them know your Spirit does not bring fear to them, especially about their salvation. Instead, you bring peace, comfort, confidence, and a sound mind! You let us know we are your kids! Teach them the truth of the New Covenant! Teach them that no behavior–good, bad, or indifferent–can change who you’ve made us to be! SAINTS! We are secure forever! Thank you so much! We love you. Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!