THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
If we sin, do we lose our salvation?
By Beth Hyduke
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Building a house is very similar to one's experience as either a Christian believer or an unsaved nonbeliever. That is why Jesus drew a comparison between the two (Luke 6:47-49). If you start out with a good foundation that is level and built on solid ground, you can confidently add on walls and flooring and a roof and every other component that makes up a house, and be certain that, because the foundation is sound, the house will be sound. But if you lay a poor foundation that is uneven and shaky, the rest of the house will follow and all the components that are built on that poor foundation will be compromised. To have a soundly constructed house, you must have a good foundation; to have a rock-solid Christian faith, you must build it on foundational truth. This is the truth the jailer asks about in Acts 16: "The jailer...brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' [Paul and Silas] replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...'" (Acts 16:29-31). Elsewhere, Jesus calls people to "repent and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15), and in Acts 20:21, Paul writes to all people, "that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus in order to be saved." This is the gospel message distilled, and it holds as true for you as it did for the jailer at his conversion. If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins, and turn to God in repentance of your sins, then you will be saved.
This does not mean that after this occurs, you will never sin again, or even that you will not commit the same sin repeatedly. It means that your heart has been changed toward sin so that you can now see it for what it is, and that you now hate it instead of loving it as you formerly did (John 3:19). Paul wrestles with this very issue, identifying this struggle as every Christian's lifelong battle against sin in Romans 7:13-25. He says:
For I do not understand my own actions. I do not do what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate...I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out...I delight in the law of God in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?Fortunately, for Paul and for you and for me, that question has a definitively glorious answer: "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and that once someone is saved, they are saved for good, for always, for eternity. God does not save someone and then allow that individual to slip out of His grasp (John 6:39, John 10:28-29). Furthermore, the Bible is clear that "nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39), including our own weaknesses, failings, and personal shortcomings.
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