Plain and Simple
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There is not a more important subject to study than salvation. In fact, there is not even a close second among all the many topics that have been taught over the centuries. Though the term salvation can be used in different ways, here it refers to deliverance from damnation in the fires of hell. This is the only way this important term will be used in this teaching.
Jesus, God’s Religious Leader
Of all the major religious leaders, the one and only reliable spiritual authority is the Lord Jesus. All others were/are counterfeits and therefore have dangerously misled their following. This list includes Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Zoroaster, Dalai Lama, the Pope, etc.
Regarding salvation Jesus pointed people to himself with the following vital conditions attached:
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26).
Jesus also told people he had a spiritual yoke for us to wear much like oxen or other animals in the natural have that would be working in field and pulling a burden:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt. 11:29,30).
(NOTE: You will never find rest for your soul until you come to Jesus on his terms.)
Jesus taught you must turn from sin (repent) or you would perish (in hell’s fire):
But unless you repent, you too will all perish (Luke 13:3).
Hence, repenting is a salvation issue. In other words, as long as you cleave to the pleasures of sin for a short time (Heb. 11:25) you do not and can not have the salvation which is only found in the Lord Jesus.
People who have repented (and become Christians) are described as follows:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24).
To turn from your wickedness, which is dragging you to hell, and to wisely chose to submissively place Jesus’ yoke on yourself to follow and serve him is equated to believing on Jesus. This is also the same as getting born again. When a person is born again, he is also forgiven of all of his sins and set free from the sin addictions he was a slave to (John 8:34-36; Rom. 6:22). In particular, it is contact with Jesus’ cleansing, precious blood (Rev. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 John 1:7) that brings this new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) miracle about.
Getting born again occurs at the point of a trusting-and-submitting faith in Jesus for personal salvation. All 100% of our trust must be in mankind’s only Savior, who is Jesus, to have salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; etc.). Again, Jesus must be the object of our faith. (Many have, unfortunately, been deceived into lethally trusting church membership, water baptism, Mary, Saturday Sabbath keeping, Lodge membership, etc., for salvation. Some others are trusting in Jesus partly and in someone else or some other thing also for their salvation. They also have been dangerously misled.)
VERY IMPORTANT: The Bible refers to the term salvation, or a derivative of it, such as saved, in two different ways. At times it is used in reference to initial salvation and at other times for final salvation. (Initial salvation refers to the point of getting saved or being born again while final salvation refers to an actual entrance into God’s kingdom after physical death.)
A few examples of initial salvation are shown in these verses:
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50).
He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:30,31).
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9).
Examples of final salvation are shown here:
Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (Rom. 13:11).
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matt. 10:22).
Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to” (Luke 13:23, 24).
In this last passage, Jesus answered the question about being saved by mentioning entering through the kingdom doors. He also stated we will need personal effort to get in. This is Jesus’ teaching, not mine or some other Christian’s. Jesus taught an instant salvation through repenting and submissively trusting in himself for salvation, but also taught a continuous effort on man’s part (to stay spiritually alive) to enter God’s kingdom doors. A raging spiritual battle is going on with the forces of darkness as they try to lead you astray and cause you to fall from grace (Gal. 5:2-4); shipwreck your faith in Jesus (1 Tim. 1:19,20); get you to become immoral, impure and greedy (Eph. 5:5-7); etc.
When God opens your eyes to these truths, the Bible makes much more sense, especially when studying the words eternal life. The salvation-related term eternal life becomes one’s personal possession when the repentant starts to follow or believes on Jesus for his soul’s salvation or as he turns from idols to serve God (1 Thess. 1:9). This is common knowledge and shown in John 6:47 and elsewhere. But most importantly, eternal life is shown to be something else, which reflects an aspect of it which you do not now have and only will if you endure to the end through persecution (Mt. 10:22) which will come because of godly living (2 Tim. 3:12), hold firm to the end of your life (Heb. 3:14) and remain faithful to God until our physical death (Rev. 2:10,11). Paul taught the same in different words:
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Gal. 6:8-10).
Clearly, eternal life is also reaped but only by those sowing to please the Spirit of God (in obedience). Hence, eternal life is a hope, as shown elsewhere in Scripture (Titus 1:2; 3:7).
Jesus taught something about eternal life that is also rarely known in our day:
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25).
Between initial and final salvation, there are many spiritual dangers that can interfere with and even curtail your following/believing in Jesus and salvation such as: persecutions, cares of this life, pleasures of this life, becoming and staying lukewarm, not producing good fruit, becoming unforgiving and even through lusts and hatred that can creep in.
Another very real and extreme spiritual danger is certain false teachers—those that misuse God’s word regarding the salvation message.
Teaching wrongly about fasting, or about some other non-salvation related subject, is not nearly as serious as false teaching regarding salvation. The real ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing (Mt. 7:15) are those that teach in a way contrary to getting: (1) Biblically born again or (2) Reaping eternal life by sowing to please the Spirit of God (obedience)—which is the same as actually entering into God’s kingdom. This is so because both truths refer to salvation.
Many people that do get Biblically born again later (during their long distance spiritual race) die spiritually or become lost again by backsliding (Mt. 24:9,10). One prime example is found in Jesus’ own teaching (Lk. 15:24,32). There are at least 18 Biblical examples of the named and unnamed people that did fall away from their salvation due to certain sins, believing/teaching a false gospel and or by disowning Jesus during persecution for godly living.
Severe Warning Alert!
In spite of the clarity of these facts shown throughout Scriptures, false teachers want to convince us otherwise. Of this group, the most deadly false teacher of all for those that have been born again are the eternal security teachers. Because of the popularity of this doctrine and these teachers often being exalted as spokesmen and apologists for evangelical Christianity, many Bible believers just accept their sinister teaching and security-in-sin-with-salvation theology. Such dangerously deceived people are usually very casual readers of Scripture (at best) and just implicitly trust their pastor, radio teachers, etc. for truth instead of reading the New Testament for themselves and putting into practice its life-giving message. Scripture actually says that there are people that will seek out (false) teachers to say what their sinful ears want to hear (2 Tim. 4:2-4).
The missing part of the plan of salvation in our day, among Bible believers, primarily is: A true Christian must endure to the end for salvation’s sake (Mt. 10:22; Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:10,11). Because many people that receive the gift of salvation don’t endure and remain faithful, but some others do, the only difference can be what they themselves do and believe after getting born again. Many don’t even know about final salvation or acting upon the vital spiritual safeguards found in Scripture to enter God’s kingdom. Such is foreign to their concept of salvation and the Christian life.
To refer to any eternal security teacher as a ravenous wolf in sheep’s clothing is not being unloving or judgmental. In fact, it is expressing Christian love to all who have ears to hear. It is being Biblical and trying to wake up those who have been deceived by that counterfeit gospel and grace turned into a license for immorality. The one and only real gospel declares this to real Christians:
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain (1 Cor 15:2).
There are free will and human responsibilities involved in this salvation by grace, according to Scripture.
Furthermore, sin is still the issue since Calvary’s cross, according to true grace teaching. Paul wrote real Christians these facts:
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live (Rom. 8:13).
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).
See also Mark 9:43-48.
Such important teachings as these can never be correctly termed a works salvation, legalism or cultic, but the dangerous and basically unrecognized eternal security wolves want you to think this way! Those vital teachings about sin’s destructive power originated with the Lord and his apostles. They are not new with us.
Two striking points about all eternal security teachers are: (1) While they believe sins will damn a person who has never been saved to hell and teach such needs to be forgiven and born again, they also believe after getting born again he can commit the same sins that were dragging him to hell before getting born again and he retains his salvation, even while unrepentant! (2) They are trying to convince us that we can not and do not need to live holy and obedient for salvation, in blatant disharmony to Scriptures (Mt. 5:8; Rev. 20:6; Heb. 12:14; etc.). In other words, these savage wolves in sheep’s clothing want us to believe that once you get born again you can turn and become wicked, vile, stray into false doctrine about the gospel, not bring forth good fruit, etc. and never imperil your eternal salvation. Such a message has obviously come from demons and the devil himself.
Sometimes eternal security teachers declare things like: A Christian can’t really be obedient, and we all sin all the time; all sin is of the same degree; God doesn’t see your sin after initial salvation anyway, since your future sins are already forgiven before you commit them and God can only see Jesus’ blood when he looks at us. They term this grace when it is a deadly lie and doctrine of demons. If that isn’t bad enough these spiritual enemies also slander Christians in various ways who declare the aforementioned plain and simple truths about salvation found in God’s word.
[For much more information about this subject please consult Dan Corner's two books related to this topic: The Believer’s Conditional Security and The Myth of Eternal Security. Neither book has ever been refuted and never will be. Though these books have created a stir and brought many to repentance for salvation, the eternal security teachers are afraid to even mention their existence, since they can’t adequately deal with the evidence and defense therein presented. Without a doubt, they don’t want others to know about them.]
In conclusion, to enter God’s kingdom after death one must become Biblically born again and at the end of his life die in a spiritually saved condition, which does not always happen. Some of the righteous have lethally backslid, temporarily lost their salvation for a time and later returned to God (like David and Peter), while others haven’t (like Solomon; Judas; those cited in Heb. 6:4-6 and John 6:66; etc.).
In other words, unless you endure, remain faithful to God and hold firmly till the end, your getting born again will be useless and you will still get thrown into the lake of fire—the same as though you were never born again. Moreover, you will be worse off at the end than you were before initial salvation (2 Pet. 2:20). More and more Bible believers are becoming aware of these facts about salvation and spreading this information to others for their benefit.
Remember Jesus described real Christians as those that hear God’s word and put it into practice (Lk. 8:21). God bless you.