“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”
Another thing that can mess with our safety and security in the Lord is the possibility of “falling away.” Backsliding, maybe. I once was lost but now I’m found. And I might get lost again.
Some Christian traditions teach “once-saved-always-saved” like it’s a non-negotiable contract. Once you say “yes” and sign on the dotted line, you can’t become a free-agent again no matter what the league commissioner rules. Well, that’s just not true. You certainly can turn away.
If God does not force you to faith in the first place, he’s not going to keep you against your will. Think about Judas. Think about Hymenaeus and Alexander. The Bible says they rejected their faith and their good conscience. They shipwrecked their salvation.
“Those who turn to crooked ways, the Lord will banish with the evildoers.” ~Psalm 125:5
So if it is possible to fall away, how do I know I haven’t? How do I know I haven’t already lost my faith, especially when my feelings are bad on the inside and bad things are happening to me on the outside?
Please, hear this. It is not possible to drift unconsciously from faith to out of favor with God. It doesn’t happen without you knowing it. It can’t. Yes, we all wander around like lost sheep, but Jesus is a faithful shepherd who pursues you relentlessly. Yes, we have our ups and downs, but he is a rock. A mountain. We do break our promises sometimes, but our Lord never breaks his. Discipleship to Jesus is not a legal contract where if we don’t live up to our end of the dead, God is free to bail on it, too. It’s God’s covenant. God establishes the conditions and he alone guarantees the results.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” ~John 10:28-29
How does the song go? No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand?
Yes, you can quit if you want to. You can say “no” to God. You can turn to the crooked way. God is not going to hang onto you against your will. But you’re never going to accidentally fall away from God or lose your salvation without knowing it. Turning away from God, losing your salvation, is a deliberate decision. In fact, we should never use the phrase “lose your salvation.” Nobody loses his or her salvation like you lose your car keys. You can give it back. You can turn your back on it. But it’s no accident or oversight. It’s a sustained, determined, on-going rejection.
1 Thessalonians 5 says the God of peace is sanctifying you through and through. He is making you holy. He is keeping you blameless. He calls you, he is faithful, and he will do what he’s promised to do. He’s the one making your salvation happen, not you.
But I’m a sinner.
All the great people of faith you know are sinners! I don’t know a single perfect Christian, do you? I’ve never met one.
Our security is not tied up in our performances. It’s grounded solidly in the faithfulness of God.
The first line in Psalm 125 says “those who trust in the Lord.” Not those who trust in their obedience or in their own righteousness.
“This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life… I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” ~1 John 5:11-13
God wants you to be more sure of your salvation than you are. You belong to him forever.