Q. You recently replied to one of my questions by directing me to your article, “What did God do on the Eighth day?”
It was actually this article that made me ask the question, so I read over it again several times. I believe you are stating that someone who accepts the gift of salvation, commits their life to God and strives daily to draw closer to him, but has the additional belief that if they were to stray away from Him, they could lose their salvation, this particular person would not truly be saved at all, and would someday find themselves in Hell. Is this what you believe?
A. What I said in the article is that people who continue to work to earn or keep their salvation after accepting it as a gift are demonstrating that they haven’t entered their Sabbath Rest. They are in effect working on the Sabbath, an offense punishable by death.
It means that they don’t really believe that Jesus saved them completely, and that they have to finish the job that He said with His last breath was already finished. This means they believe that the ultimate responsibility for their salvation rests with them and not with the blood of Jesus.
In your question you didn’t mention just straying from the Lord. You said, “We were taught that you needed works to keep your salvation, like praying, reading the Bible, witnessing, asking forgiveness of each sin. To fall short on any of these things could mean losing one’s salvation.” This is a dangerous position because it teaches us that ultimately it’s our works that save us, not God’s grace.
Straying is a different matter because in the shepherd / sheep model the sheep will stray and it’s the shepherd’s job to bring them back. According to John 6:37-40 and 2 Cor. 1:21-22 and when God saved you He accepted this responsibility.
The bottom line is the motive of our heart. If we truly believe that Jesus did it all and we rest on that, we’re saved. But if we believe that it’s up to us to finish the job He only began, then we have a problem because that means we don’t believe the Lord’s death was sufficient, and we’re really saved by some combination of His Grace plus our works.