Salvation is the greatest gift that any person can receive. It is the moment where your soul’s eternal destination changes from hell to heaven! This unbelievable decision can only be made because of a gracious God that sent his only begotten son to die for our sins and raise himself from the dead. God offers this salvation willingly to anyone that is willing to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. All of your sins have been forgiven and you are in good standing with God… but what happens when you commit another sin? Do you lose your salvation? Does “once saved always saved” give you a free pass for sin?
Let’s look at the three of the most common teachings concerning God’s handling of our salvation…
“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; And plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” – Psalms 86:5
God is very merciful, and because of his mercy, he forgives us of our sins. While this teaching sounds good initially, it does not fully show how God handles salvation.
If God only forgave us of our sins, then we would need to be forgiven again the next time that we sinned. This type of salvation is taught by the Catholic church. They teach that God forgives us for our past sin, but that more forgiveness is required the next time that we sin (this is done through confessions).
Courtroom Illustration – When someone commits a crime, the judge has the power to forgive the person of the charges at hand. Once the charges are dropped, he/she is free to leave because the crime have been forgiven! The problem is… once the same person commits another crime, he will find himself in the same courtroom standing before the same judge.
This type of salvation doesn’t quite meet the Biblical definition of how God handles our salvation. This type of salvation requires us to confess our sins on a regular basis in order to keep our salvation, but the Bible tells us that once we are saved, we have “eternal” life. If that life gets taken away the next time we sin, then it’s not eternal!
“And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” – Hebrews 10:17
Here we have a similar form of salvation, but the Pentecostals take it a bit further. They teach that not only does God forgive us of our sin but he also forgets the sins even happened!
Once again, this concept is taught by Scripture, but doesn’t quite check all the boxes for how God handles our salvation. Although this teaching sounds better than the Catholic teaching, the primary problem still remains… this only applies to past sin! So, once again, this would require you to constantly bring your sins before God in order to keep your salvation.
Courtroom Illustration – Just like the first example, the judge has the ability to forgive a criminal of his crimes and dismiss the charges, but this time, the judge takes it a step further and clears your record so there’s no evidence that any charges were ever filed! Unfortunately, this leaves the forgiven man in the same situation as before… he will find himself back in the same courtroom standing before the same judge after he commits another crime.
This type of salvation also falls short of what the Bible teaches us. “If you aren’t good enough to earn salvation, then you aren’t good enough to keep it!” Forgiveness is great… God forgetting about the sin is great… but constant confession in an effort to keep your salvation just doesn’t line up with Biblical salvation. God has given us “everlasting” life… it should last forever!
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” – Galatians 4:6-7
This is Biblical salvation! Not only does God forgive us of our sins and forget they even happened, but He changes our standing with him!
Courtroom Illustration – Imagine someone committing a crime, all the evidence is against him, but the judge still decides to forgive them of all charges. Then the judge slams his gavel and demands that this man’s record be wiped clean. So, now this man is forgiven and there is no proof that any crimes were ever committed, but then the judge goes out of his way and takes it a step further… he adopts him!
You see? “Once saved always saved” isn’t a free license to sin without any punishment. It is a change of our standing before God! Our relationship is no longer seen as a judge looking at a criminal, but instead, it’s seen as a father looking at his son!
A judge will handle a criminal differently than a father handles his son. If a stranger comes into my and starts yelling at me, it won’t be long before he is drug to the curb… but if my son comes into my house and starts yelling at me there will be much different punishment. He is still my son and he is still welcome in my house, just like God is still our heavenly father and heaven is still our home!
What kind of father would abandon their son every time they failed to listen? Not God!
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” – John 10:28
Biblical salvation is undeserved forgiveness by God… he then forgets it ever even happened… but he also adopts us and changes our standing with him! We don’t lose that relationship and home in heaven every time we sin… Praise God you can’t lose your salvation!