Q. Some churches teach once saved always saved, while others say you can lose your salvation, and if you do you can never get it back. Some teach that even if you are saved you have to earn your way to heaven by righteous deeds, others say belief alone is sufficient. There are churches that teach you are not saved until you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, or that if you have unforgiveness in your heart you won’t go to heaven, or that if you commit a mortal sin your soul is forever damned. And some churches teach that we are either predestined for salvation or we’re not, so it’s useless to strive for salvation if you are not one of the elect. It seems like everyone has a different interpretation of the Bible. How do I know which is the way to be saved?
A. This is not just one of the important decisions in your life. It’s the only one God absolutely requires of you, so He would not make it confusing or difficult. Therefore, stop looking at what different churches say and look at what God’s word says. If you consider all the verses in the New Testament on the subject of salvation, you’ll see it boils down to this:
If you believe you’re a sinner in need of a Savior, if you believe Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins and rose again, and if you ask Him, He will instantly become your Savior. Some of the clearest verses that confirm this in no uncertain terms are Matt.7:7-8, John 3:16, John 6:28-29, John 6:37-40, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13, and 1 Cor. 15:1-4. And remember, the Bible is God’s word. It can’t say one thing in one place and something different in an other. Every other verse you read has to agree with these, or else it isn’t talking about salvation.
In addition, Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:21-22, and 2 Cor. 5:5 all say that at the moment you believe this, God sends the Holy Spirit to live within you as a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance. That means from the very first moment of belief, before you’ve had a chance to do anything good to earn it or anything bad to lose it, your salvation is guaranteed. Every other condition for receiving or keeping your salvation is man made and exceeds the Biblical requirements.
There are things in the Bible that can be open for debate, but not this. It’s too important. And don’t take any body’s word for this, not even mine. Study this issue straight from God’s word until you are certain that you understand it. It’s your best defense against those who try to make expensive that which the Lord gave His life to make free.