What We Believe: Salvation


Two Main Views

Reformed/Calvinist: a person who used to follow Christ and no longer does, has proven that their faith was not genuine. Arminian: a person who once followed Christ and no longer does, has lost a genuine faith that they once possessed. 

Salvation is entirely by grace.  Ephesians 2:8-9 is very clear on this.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Genuine faith also leads to obedience (James 2:14-26).

Those who are truly saved demonstrate this by surrendering to the Lord Jesus, and living a changed life (Matthew 7:21-23, 1 John 2:6). We are told those who refuse to accept the Lordship of Christ "will not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-20; Ephesians 5:3-5). Those who insist on living life their own way have no reason to be assured of their eternal salvation.

Stay close to the Lord Jesus, showing your relationship with him is real. Those who trust Him can have absolute assurance of eternal life (John 6:35-47). Staying close does not equal perfectly sinless; that will only happen once we get to heaven (1 John 3:2).  However, trusting him does mean that we will not allow deep patterns of sin to go unchecked in our lives (1 John 1:6-7).

We Christians get into trouble when we emphasize too strongly one view of this matter. Some might imply that no life change is required, as long as you've prayed a prayer. On the other hand, fearing you can fail and lose your salvation could cause you to live in that fear.

“So what does Pastor Jonathan believe?”  I believe that those who stay close to Jesus don’t need to worry about this issue. Those who are walking away from the Lord need to repent. I don’t want to give assurance to a guy who is having his third extramarital affair, but insists he prayed a prayer 23 years ago and is "in” because of that. At the same time, I will be the first to offer assurance to those who are genuinely saved and demonstrate this with a changed life. 

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