What Does It Mean to Be Saved? What Does the Bible Say About How to Be Saved?
By Li Min
Is the Word “Once Saved, Always Saved” Tenable?
I believe many brothers and sisters in the Lord are familiar with the word “salvation” and want to be saved by believing in the Lord. Moreover, everyone preaches these words “Once saved, always saved.” Then, does once saved mean always saved? If we want to figure out this question, we first need to know if these words are right and if there is any reference in the Lord’s word? Whatever views we hold onto, we shall not rely on our own notions and imaginations. Only if we find the basis from God’s word can we act in harmony with God’s will.
What Did God Say About Salvation?
Many brothers and sisters would say: It is based on the records in the Bible that we believe in the Lord in this way. Is this truly the fact? Let’s see what the Bible says about salvation.
The Lord Jesus said: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).
“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
“But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).
The Lord Jesus’ words only tell us that what we should do to gain the salvation, but don’t mention that once saved, we will always be saved. If we think like this, there will be a serious deviation in our understanding, and we are twisting these words. We all know the Lord is faithful. If He promised us that once saved, we would always be saved, He would tell us clearly. However, the Lord Jesus never said it like this and many apostles never testified like this, so the word “Once saved, always saved” is untenable. Even if many spiritual figures and Bible expositors accept this view, they can only stand for themselves but not the Lord’s will. We know only the Lord Jesus is the heavenly King and His word is the truth, the way, the life and with power. And only He can decide who is able to enter the Heavenly kingdom. If we hope to be approved by the Lord, we should take Jesus’ word as our principles and bases rather than hold on to our personal understanding and imaginations. Otherwise, it’ll finally be in vain if we just live in our personal logical thinking or hold on to the tradition of men and groundless theories but don’t seek to understand the Lord’s will and take His word as principles. Speaking of this, it’s necessary for us to know what the word “salvation” truly means in the Bible.
What’s the True Meaning of Salvation?
Brothers and sisters in the Lord all know that, in the Age of Law, Jehovah used Moses to promulgate laws and commandments for the Israelites and taught them what they should do to fear and serve Jehovah; what is good and what is evil; what deeds will be blessed and what actions will be cursed; what they should do to get along with each other and how to live; how to offer sacrifice to God to atone for their sins, etc. But at the end of the Age of Law, people had been corrupted by Satan more deeply. They lost the heart of fearing God and lived in sins so that they offered the blind or lame oxen, sheep and pigeons to Jehovah God’s altar. If they kept living in this way, all the Israelites would be condemned to death by the law. To save people under the law from the threat of death, God incarnated into flesh as Jesus and did the work of redemption. As long as people accept Jesus’ salvation, confess sins and repent, their sins will be absolved and they won’t be condemned or put to death by the law, at the same time, they’ll have the qualification to pray before God and enjoy His abundant grace and blessings. This is the salvation for people under the Age of Law, and the salvation here means not to be condemned by the law. It’s just as the records in the Bible: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1–2). “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9). That is to say, at that time, as long as people’s hearts believe and their mouths acknowledge the Lord as Christ, and accept the Lord Jesus’ salvation, they won’t be condemned by the law, nor will their faults be remembered by God. This is the true meaning of salvation.
What’s the Difference Between “Being Saved” and “Being Forever Saved”?
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After knowing those above, some brothers and sisters might say: The Lord Jesus’ crucifixion has already saved us successfully and He has forgiven all our sins. We’re not sinners in His eyes and we’ve been justified by faith. What’s more, the salvation is once and for all. But is this really the fact? What’s the difference between “being saved” as we think and the standards of “being forever saved” required by the Lord? Let’s look up the Bible, “But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15–16). The Lord is holy, so if we want to be saved forever, we should cast off the bondage of sin to be the man who can receive God’s word, obey Him and love Him.
However, are we holy now? Since we followed the Lord, we have some good behaviors such as bearing hardship, expending zealously, visiting and helping weak brothers and sisters, abandoning worldly burdens, giving alms and donating, and working diligently for the Lord, etc., but our sinful nature hasn’t been solved and we can’t help but commit sins. For example, we always lie to maintain our own image; we hate others and form cliques because of envying others; we plant our own flags; we often tell people how much we’ve suffered; we exalt and testify ourselves; we stand in God’s place to let people admire and look up to us; we still complain and betray God when we’re faced with disasters or trials and tribulations; we believe in God with our mouth but worship, look up to and follow pastors and elders; some of us even steal and enjoy God’s offerings; our sinful nature, such as arrogance, selfishness, craftiness, evil are still very deep-rooted, making us live in a vicious cycle of committing and confessing sins. This is a patently clear fact. Obviously, if our sinful nature and satanic dispositions are not solved, we can’t get fully free of sins even if our sins are forgiven a million times! We are still bounded by sins, how can we say we are saved forever? It is said in Hebrews, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Hebrew 10:26–27). God’s disposition does not tolerate human offenses, and He will accomplish His word if He said so. We have known the Lord’s requirements after we believe in Him, but we still can’t live out His word. We commit sins and resist Him often, so how can we say we’re once saved and will be always saved?
How to Achieve Being Saved Forever
At this point, some brothers and sister might ask: Will our expectation, being saved forever, in believing in the Lord for years come to nothing? What should we do to pursue to be totally free from sins and to be purified by God, so that we can realize the wish in our hearts? Actually, we can’t meet God’s will by ourselves and we need God to personally save us, so that we can gain the great salvation, being saved forever. Just as the word recorded in the Bible: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Hebrew 9:28).
I remembered a spiritual book said: “For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this does not mean that man no longer has sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation.”
From these words, we can know that the work the Lord Jesus did is only to redeem man but not to judge and purify man to fully save people from sins. We are only forgiven of our sins by receiving the Lord’s salvation, but the sinful nature is deeply embedded in our hearts and we still live in the circumstance of committing and confessing sins. Therefore, we still need God to do another stage of judgment and cleansing work to change us if we want to be purified and fully free of Satan’s influence. Only in this way can we get rid of sins and be truly saved. It also fulfills the word in the Bible: “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47–48). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
From above scriptures, we can see that God has plans and steps on saving us from evils and sins. If we want to be saved forever, we not only need the Lord Jesus’ salvation, but need to accept God’s work of judgement and chastisement in the last days, so that we can get rid of the bondage of sins, be fully purified and perfected by God and live in God’s light. As a matter of fact, many verses predicted that God will come again and do the judgement work. For example: “God judges the righteous”; “And I will come near to you to judgment”; “the judge stands before the door”; “for the hour of his judgment is come“; “for he comes to judge the earth”; “judgment must begin at the house of God” and so on. From all these chapters, we are more certain that God will do the work of judgement and chastisement when He comes in the last days.
Dear brothers and sisters, have you found the way of being saved forever through today’s fellowship?
From: Grow in Christ