I would first like to explain what salvation fully entails to me, before I start discussing whether it is everlasting or has some sort of limitations. This is a question that I have often thought about to myself. How much strength does my salvation hold. I think that there are three huge lies that people believe involving salvation. First, they have screwed up so much in life and have plenty more mistakes ahead them that there is no possible way that they could be saved. Secondly, its too much work to follow all the rules and restrictions, that they should just give up and except their defeat. Thirdly, people think that once they have prayed a payer of repentance and verbal acceptance that Christ is their Savior, and they are all set to go to heaven so they can do most anything their heart desires. I have struggled with this idea of eternal salvation or in other words unending grace.
Christ’s grace is so big that we can’t even start to imagine an end to it. Thats what we try to do though. We tell our selves that we have screwed up too big and His grace won’t reach us. That is a lie.
I believe that the process of salvation is longer than we think it. What I mean by this, is that most people thing the act of salvation is a singular moment in time. Thats why in many peoples testimonies you have the classic line, “I was excepted Jesus into my heart when I was a little kid, but I really was saved…” Why is this you may ask. Its, because salvation is a process in which you continually go through your whole life. We continually walk with Christ and recognize that we are broken vessels that do not belong in Christ’s harbor. We accept the gift daily that he gave us by sacrificing his life on the cross.
This is where sanctification shows up. Sanctification is the continual act of sanctifying our selves in Christ. In other words making our selves clean of all the sinful blemishes we have by accepting Christ’s redeeming gift. Ultimately, I think this is the best way to explain sanctification. “Move away from the things that separate us from God and move towards the things that promote intimacy with Christ.” Ben Stuart The goal is to be able to live in perfect harmony with Christ like Adam did in the garden before he sinned. I think to many people miss out on the fact that salvation is continual throughout our lives.
Tetelestai is the Greek word that we we translate as “It is finished.” The words that Christ used in his final moments of life before He died. You can find this at John 19:30. This word has a lot of meaning in the sense of our salvation. Without Christ doing this act of finishing, are salvation would be non-existent. Christ has finished the job of creating a way for us to be saved. Once we take the gift he has to offer we are saved.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29
Now this verse clearly states that once you have committed your life over to Christ you can not be “snatched.” I totally believe this. I think that Christ has conquered satan and he has given us power to use against the schemes of the devil. This is where my theory of salvation comes into play. If someone is not walking with the Lord and is living for his flesh. That person will not hear the voice of God. If you do not hear the voice you will not follow and if you do not follow you will be absent from eternal life and perish. I know that this sounds harsh, but I believe it is a reality that many christians need to understand this. Just because you ask Jesus to come into your heart when you were a little kid does not me you have succeeded in salvation…necessarily.
Now its not our jobs to judge, only the Father can do that and only He can see what is in the hear. We can get a good idea of whats in the heart by observing peoples actions. People do what the desires of their heart are.
I will end with this verse.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24
One of the most important steps after salvation is one towards the Word. The word is where we will learn to know God and hear what He has to say. This is how we receive eternal life in Heaven.