We hear people arguing both sides of the issue, “once saved, always saved,” but, what does God say about it? And, how can we know we are truly saved?
Rom 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” So, first we confess with our mouths, this is the easy part. Then, we must believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead. Some will not believe, even if they see a resurrected Jesus, Lk 16:31, “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Believing in Jesus’ resurrection can only happen when we open our minds to the possibility. So, how can we know we truly believe in His resurrection? Rom 10:10-11, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Does this mean we believe to the point of becoming righteous and that we are not ashamed to admit we believe Jesus was raised from the dead?
Didn’t the Pharisees try to become righteous by living the law? Or, did they try to create their own righteousness; instead of listening, believing, and living the righteousness God calls us to? Rom 10:1-3, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” We cannot create our own righteousness. Only God is righteous, and only our faith in Jesus’ resurrection will lead us to His righteousness. Those who do not believe in His resurrection will think it is foolishness, 1 Cor 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” It is only Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection that leads us to this kind of faith and His righteousness, which is the fruit of our faith.
So, what is the righteousness God calls us to? Gen 15:6, “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Apparently, our belief is the beginning, for, without it, we will not live the fruit of the Spirit. Instead, we will make up our own laws, as the Jews did. When we make up our own laws, we demonstrate our lack of faith, our lack of belief in God and His commandments. 1 Pet 2:1-10, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” It is Jesus, and His sacrifice that calls us to His righteousness and those who do not believe will not confess He has risen from the grave, they will instead mock Him. Thus, Jesus will become a stumbling block unto them, as He was to the Jewish leaders in the first century.
He asks us to come to Him and His Word, as babes, learning to believe before we attempt to live His commandments. For, without belief, we are will misuse His Word and lead others away from His Truth. It is only when we come to Him and His Word honestly, desiring to truly understand it, that we will taste that it describes His graciousness and His desire for our love. It is only then we will believe in His unconditional love for us, and this truth will lead us to love Him, 1 Jn 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” and His righteousness.
We will no longer make up our own laws, but rather, we will learn to love as He does and will begin to live His commandments out of love, instead of duty. His commandments are not onerous; they are simple and are summed up in these two commandments, Matt 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The first of these commandments is a summation of the first four of the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses and the second summarizes the final six, Ex 20:3-17, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.” We humans, because we do not believe, make up our own laws. In our country, we have tens of thousands of laws. However, we would not need any of them if we honestly kept the ten simple commandments God gave us thousands of years ago.
So, righteousness is our belief in God, which leads us to keep His Ten Commandments out of love, not duty. It is a way of life, and it proves we are saved. God tells us we can judge for ourselves whether we are saved, first by watching what we do, Prov 4:26-27, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” and then, by removing our feet from evil, this process is called sanctification. And, it leads us to live what God calls the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” God tells us this lifestyle needs no laws, for it comes from our love of Him and His Word. It is the love of God, shining through us, that demonstrates to the whole world that we love God and are following Him through the process of sanctification to His righteousness.
To always be saved, we must first have been saved. Pretending to love God, by calling His name might appear to complete the first part of Rom 10:9, however, pretending will not lead us to believe Jesus rose from the dead and this is required if we are going to complete Rom 10:9. And, ultimately, it will lead us to live the fruit described in Gal 5:22-23, and this is the verification we are saved. Once we are living the fruit, out of love and not some perverted idea of duty, we cannot lose our salvation. This is further demonstrated in, Heb 6:4-6, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” For, if we are truly saved and living the fruit of the Spirit, we would never fall away, as John explains in, 1 Jn 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” We cannot live the fruit of the Spirit when we are pretending.
Only our belief in Jesus and His resurrection can lead us, through the sanctification process, to His grace, mercy, and righteousness, Rom 3:20-24, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
Those who profess once saved always savedwould be correct if they would add the word “truly.” Once, truly saved, always saved!
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