“Can I Lose My Salvation?” Strengthening the Helmet of Salvation
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.17. lose salvation
John 6… A week ago Saturday, there was a deadly earthquake and avalanche in Nepal, home to Mount Everest.
Dutch climber Eric Arnold was on Mount Everest when the avalanche happened. His account was especially vivid. He describes his experience.
“11:45 lying in my tent, it seems like someone is shaking my tent … I think it’s a joke. Not much time later, the shaking of the tent turns into shaking of the ground and it gets harder and harder. I realize — earthquake !! When I open my tent zipper, I see three sides of the gigantic avalanche come down (from different peaks). Behind me, from Lingtren and from Pumori. The avalanche from the Nuptse is gigantic. Not much later I realize that the base camp is getting hit. [Another climber] beckons me to come to the mess tent. I run the 20 meters to the tent, midway through the avalanche skims me. I totally lost my sense of direction… Then I storm into the tent. My ears are filled to the brim with snow. In five seconds, I look like the abominable snowman. It is now an hour after the avalanche. Details about the victims, I do not know.”
I am like Eric Arnold and Christ is like the mess tent. Thank the Lord, I have stormed in to Christ I will never die eternally because Christ stands firm. That is my testimony of security. Is it yours? And because Christ guarantees my salvation, I can have victory over temptations.
The helmet of salvation we studied last time tells us that if we are sure of our salvation today and if we are certain of our final salvation, we can have victory today in our spiritual battles of sin, whether it’s lust, greed, envy, worry, fear, no matter what it is, we can have victory if we are sure of salvation today and if we are certain that we will go to heaven.
Everyone wants victory over temptations. But not everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. To be victorious in life’s spiritual battles, you must grow in your understanding that Christ guarantees salvation for those who savingly trust Him.
To grow, you must practice responding to God in His word and prayer everyday.
My eternity is secure.
But the problem is, some Christians believe that you could eventually get swept up into the avalanche … some believe that you could lose your salvation. But if you have come to Christ and Christ has saved you, you have already stormed into that mess tent. And he is faithful. And so if you have run to Christ but you fail to believe that Christ has guaranteed your salvation and you believe that you could eventually lose your salvation, you will not be as victorious as Christ meant you to be. And you’ll be more open to spiritual attack.
We are in a series on spiritual armoury. Our last message from this passage concerned the helmet of salvation. And so we discussed gaining assurance of salvation. And another issue that can weaken the helmet of salvation is not only lacking personal assurance of salvation, but also believing that I could end up in hell, even if I am truly a child of God. That’s a problem.
So we are going to discuss this morning that a true believer’s eternity in Christ is secure; he is safe once he truly trusts Christ. Because of what Christ has done, because of what he has accomplished, because of his character and his promises, the one who savingly trusts in Christ and storms into him, will never lose his salvation.
Jesus says … John 6 …. look at verse 37 37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
ILL: when Eric Arnold stormed to the mess tent, they weren’t standing at the door shooing him away. In the same way all the Father gives to the Son will come to the Son and the one who comes to the Son of God, the Son of God will certainly not cast out. Jesus is not preventing you from coming and being saved. If you savingly trust in Christ you will be saved.
Now, because our message has to do with eternal security, it is a doctrinal message. JC Ryle in his book Simplicity in Preaching which I read this week you’ll be glad to know … would say that our topic this morning is a [quote] “very deep subject, about which … Christians often disagree, and it is almost impossible to make [it] very simple.” end quote.
So, I will attempt to do the ah … the impossible this morning and try to make eternal security simple to understand. And if you get the point this morning and respond, you’ll get the blessing the Lord wants you to get. We’re going to picture ourselves climbing a mountain this morning…
We’re at the foot of the mountain looking up at the snow peaked mountain and our guide is debriefing us. What are we about to climb…what are we talking about …
…What are we talking about?
We are talking about eternal security. This is the question of whether or not a true believer can lose his salvation. This is the “once saved always saved” position. Eternal security is “God sovereignly preserving true believers guaranteeing their ultimate salvation.” “God sovereignly preserves true believers guaranteeing their ultimate salvation.”
This is a work of God; God does this. If God saved you, He gave to you all of the benefits of salvation. And that will never be lost by any means. If you’ve come to Christ and you’re saved, you won’t be cast out. This is eternal security, “God sovereignly preserves true believers. God’s preserving guarantees my ultimate salvation.”
Why This is Important
Now, you might be thinking, “why is this doctrine even important?” Well you are about to climb the mountain this morning … so this debreifing session is very important!
This doctrine is extremely important …
First … how can I rejoice in my salvation if I doubt whether or not, in the end, I will be saved? And how can I praise God for delivering me from the wrath to come if it might still be true that I could be thrown into Hell? We’ve got to tackle this….
Second, ….if eternal security is true and you fail to believe it, it is a failure to glorify God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit each of whom has participated in my eternally secure salvation. The glory of God is at stake!
Third, …and this is our point this morning …. it matters b/c I’ll work for Christ better today if I believe in eternal security. I’ll avoid temptation better with a stronger salvation helmet. When I know that my eternity is secure in Christ, my helmet is strengthened. This doctrine matters because you want victory in your daily battles. To get victory, you must grow in your understanding that Christ guarantees salvation for you who trust Him. If you have trusted Christ, and Christ has saved you, your eternity is secure. This helps fight daily battles.
What it Does and Doesn’t Mean
Eternal security means “once saved always saved.” Got that mountain climber…ok? Eternal security means “once saved always saved.” That once you really, truly, savingly trust in Christ, you will never lose your salvation.
But let me also tell you what eternal security does not mean. 2 points here …
1. First, “Once saved always saved, but” this does not mean that you just say a little prayer and you are in. Not everyone who professes Christ is saved. There will be those on the last day who say, “Lord, Lord … did we not prophesy in your name and in your name work many miracles?” And the Lord says that he will turn to them and say “I never knew you.” He demands that you repent and trust him. And your life will give evidence of salvation. So eternal security does not mean that you just say a little prayer and you are in.
ILL: Believing in eternal security does not give me a license to sin.
My family and I moved to Canada in 2010. As soon as we crossed the border to Alberta, we were given health care cards. Cool! You know what…. ? I did not…because I got that free health care card … I repeat I did NOT immediately begin drinking gasoline. I wasn’t even tempted!
Just because I had a healthcare card… it didn ‘t lead me to drink gas. It’s the same with eternal security. Just because I believe in eternal security and just because the Scripture teaches it, it doesn’t mean I will want to sin against God. In fact the exact opposite can be true; I’ll be more likely to rise up in thankfulness!
TRANS: So eternal security does not mean that you say little prayer and you are in and that you can sin however often you want. Now, I’d like to prove that a true believer’s eternity is secure. Ok climbers…are you ready to climb the mountains…we have 5 mountains this morning
5 brief points… First this morning, God keeps His promises. Go back to Ephesians 1. God keeps His promises, therefore our eternity is secure.
God will keep His promise
If you were chosen before the foundation of the world, if your destiny to adoption was predetermined by God, if in time… you trust Christ and He has regenerated you, redeemed you, you’ve been justified, your sins credited to Christ’s account, Christ’s righteousness credited to your account … you’ve been reconciled, sanctified, born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, called, cleansed, converted, forgiven, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, given grace, gifts of the Holy Spirit, eternal life, and a future inheritance … can you still lose your salvation?
Do you think all of that can be undone?
Ephesians 1. When you trusted Christ Christ saved you, he gave you a down payment of your future inheritance. And that down payment is the Holy Spirit himself.
Let’s read again Ephesians 1:13-14.
Ephesians 1:13–14 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, [when you trusted … ] you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who [that is the Holy Spirit] is given as a pledge [a down payment, a first payment] of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
This word pledge, or down payment in verse 14 was used in the first century to “require someone to make further payments.” In other words, this word pledge requires that God make further payments. God has entered into a covenant with you and part of that covenant requires that He make good on future payments. The future payments include verse 14 God giving you the entirety of the inheritance, which will be accomplished in heaven.
Now, do you think that he’ll make good on His promise? Of course He will! If you have listened to the message of the gospel and if you have believed or trusted in Christ, God has given you his pledge, his down payment that promises that he will make good on giving you your future inheritance in heaven. You are eternally secure.
As you come to understand this more and more, you’ll have more and more ability to overcome daily temptations. Everyone wants victory over temptations. But not everyone is willing to do what it takes to get it. To be victorious in life’s spiritual battles, you must grow in your understanding that Christ guarantees salvation for those who trust Him.
He will give you your inheritance. So, what would it take for you to lose your salvation? God would have to renege on His promise. And He simply refuses; He will keep His promise.
TRANS: We’re at the top of that first mountain; how does the view look? You like that? Now, somebody says, “I believe God will make good on his promise, but I know that I have a responsibility as well. If I fail in some way, I may still lose my salvation.”
Now, who keeps you saved? Second mountain this morning…not only does God keep his promises, he also keeps you by His own power. Let’s get climbing up this second mountain. God keeps you by His power. To answer this let’s turn over to 1 Peter 1:5
II. God keeps you by His power.
So who protects you so that you’ll be saved? Let’s back up to verse three. … You’ll see similar language as in Ephesians 1. This is Peter writing this time….
1 Peter 1:3–5 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance [that’s what we want…] which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you [but how secure is my eternity? How secure is my obtaining this inheritance…? Keep going … you verse 5…], 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
That fifth verse says we are protected by the power of God. And this protection by God’s power has a goal; he’s protecting me for something and it’s this: salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
My salvation is secure. Why? Because it says that I am protected by the power of God. God protects me. Now, God in his power uses something to protect me to make sure that my eternity is secure. He uses something to protect me for that salvation. And what he uses is faith.
ILL: it’s like being out on the lake! This time of year, we may be looking forward to getting out on the lake. And if one of your children, say, can’t swim, you are going put something on her. You are going to use something to protect her from drowning and the thing that you are going to use is a life jacket. You will use a life jacket to protect your child from drowning.
It’s the same way with God. God uses something to protect you from drowning for all of eternity. And what he uses is faith. God’s power verse five says protects you to ensure final salvation in heaven. And God in his infinite power uses faith to protect you.
But unlike a parent, God is always there to make sure that that lifejacket stays on. God in his infinite power will always be using faith to protect you so that you are ultimately saved. This is God’s work; he does the keeping, not you. It is God’s tool; he uses faith. He will not stop short of keeping you until you are ultimately saved.
There are no conditions attached here. It’s not like you can say, “only if I keep myself in the faith, will God save me.” That’s not what this verse is saying. There are no conditions here. There is no ‘if’ statement. This is fact. God says that he will keep you and he will do that through faith. Period! No “if the person keeps….” No!…, He’s going to protect you until that salvation is actually revealed in its fullness!
ILL: You don’t keep yourself saved! Watchman Nee tells about a new convert who came in deep distress to see him. The young believer says, “No matter how much I pray, no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to be faithful to my Lord. I think I’m losing my salvation.” His category was ‘faithfulness’…lack of faithfulness could cause you to lose your salvation, this man thinks.
Nee said, “Do you see this dog here? He is my dog. He is house-trained; he never makes a mess; he is obedient; he is a pure delight to me. Out in the kitchen I have a son, a baby son. He makes a mess, he throws his food around, he dirties his clothes, he is a total mess. But who is going to inherit my kingdom? Not my dog; my son is my heir. You are Jesus Christ’s heir because it is for you that He died.” We are Christ’s heirs, not through our perfection but by means of His grace. He does the work!
No amount of perfection on your part can keep you saved. You trust Him and repent and He saves you. That’s the deal.
But if you fail to come to understand that your salvation is secure in Christ, you’ll fail more often in the day to day battles.
Everyone wants victory over temptations. But not everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. To be victorious in life’s spiritual battles, you must grow in your understanding that Christ guarantees glorious salvation for those who savingly trust Him.
What would it take for you to lose your salvation? God would have to lose His power to keep you. That won’t happen. God will keep His people safe.
TRANS: Climbed up that second mountain… look around, looks pretty good right? Now, we’ve got 3 more mountains to go… We’ve been speaking to faith this morning …. Did you know that saving faith is a gift? Third mountain this morning, God gave you saving faith in the first place. Not only does God keep His promises of giving you an inheritance, not only does he keep you protected and saved by His own power, He also gave you saving faith in the first place and He won’t take back that gift.
III. God gives saving faith
Please turn to Philippians chapter 1. Paul here will tell us that God gives saving faith. Philippians 1 verse 29 …
Philippians 1:29 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
There are two things that have been given to you or granted to you. To you it has been granted not only to believe but also to suffer. Believing and suffering. Suffering has been granted …But also to believe has been given to these people. Did you see that?
Phil. 1:29 … For to you it has been granted for Christ sake …to believe in him. To believe in him is a gift from God. Saving faith is a gift from God. It did not originate from within yourself.
It’s the same with repentance. And I will just quote Romans 2:4 … “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, [here it is…] not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Not only is saving faith a gift from God, but also repentance is as well. The kindness of God leads you to repentance. What led you to repent? The kindness of God led you to repent. Did it originate from within yourself? No. It was God’s kindness that led you to that point.
Now, Philippians 1:29 and Romans 2:4 both teach that saving faith and repentance are both a gift from God. We must exercise that gift to be saved that is equally true. But if you could lose your salvation, what would it take for you to lose your salvation? It would take God taking back his gift! If God took back his gift of saving faith and repentance, I suppose you could be lost. But Romans 11:29 says, “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” God won’t take it back.
But the Bible nowhere teaches that. We have to ask the question: will he take away this good gift from you? Little sheep, will he take away the gift of saving faith? He gave it, would he be righteous to take it back from you? No! He wouldn’t do that. He wants you to know that your salvation is secure in Him not only because He loves you, but because He wants you have victory in trial and for you to reach your God-given potential.
Everyone wants victory and spiritual success. But not everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. To live the successful spiritual life God is calling you to, you must grow in your understanding that Christ guarantees glorious salvation for those who savingly trust Him.
Know Him and the safety that He gives. Cling to Him closer everyday to get it.
TRANS: But you say, “well, what if I simply do not exercise that gift that he is given to me? Yes, I am saved, justified, I’ve been given good gifts from the Holy Spirit, I have eternal life right now, but if I stop believing, I will be lost.”
ILL: If a dad gives his 5 year old son a battery powered toy, he’ll give him the batteries! He won’t say, “Go get the batteries out on your own!” It’s the same with our good Lord. Philippians 2:13 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God is at work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. He will energize believers to keep on trusting in Him.
And where in the Scripture does it say that you can as someone who has been given saving faith, where does it say you can actually stop believing? Are you saying then that you could take yourself out of the father’s hand by doubting? Or are you saying that you could take yourself out of the Son’s hand by doubting?
Let’s go over to John chapter 10 to answer this question. This is our fourth mountain peak we’ll conquer this morning … John chapter 10 …which is that “If you are saved, you can’t snatch yourself out of the Father’s hand.”
IV. If you are saved, you can’t snatch yourself out of the Father’s hand.
John 10 and we will look at verses 27-29.
John 10:27–29 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish [question: will those who genuinely receive eternal life ever perish? No. If Jesus has given you eternal life, which happened when you got saved, you will never perish. Is it possible for you who has eternal life to eventually go to hell? No, you will never perish; going to hell is impossible for you who have been given eternal life.” “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and [so because of that … ]they will never perish.”
And keep going in verse 28…]; and no one will snatch them out of My hand [question: if you have eternal life, could anyone snatch you out of the Jesus’ hand? You have eternal life and you are in the hand of Jesus, could anyone take you out of Jesus’ hand? No!
You say, “Well, no except myself. I could take myself out of Jesus’ hand by not not having faith. Really? That’s not what this says. Jesus says that no one can snatch you out of Jesus hand. That would include yourself. You can’t either because no one can… you can’t either ….you can’t snatch yourself out of Jesus hand. If…If you are in Jesus’ hand, you can’t snatch yourself out of Jesus’ hand and eventually perish. Verse 29 … ].
29 “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. [similar question: if you have eternal life, could anyone snatch you out of the Father’s hand? You have eternal life and you are in the hand of the Father, could anyone take you out of the Father’s hand? No!
You say, “Well, no except myself. I could take myself out of Father’s hand. Really? That’s not what this says. Jesus says that no one can snatch you out of the Father’s hand. That would include yourself. You can’t snatch yourself out because no one can… you can’t either ….you can’t snatch yourself out of the Father’s hand. If…If you are in the Father’s hand, meaning you have eternal life… you can’t snatch yourself out of the Father’s hand and so you will never perish. No one can do it. Jesus said it. That settles it. I believe it.
This is a very strong statement of eternal security. You cannot lose your salvation. Once you truly receive eternal life you are saved, born again, you are in the family of God, once you have trusted Christ and turn from your sin, you are saved and cannot lose that salvation, “you will never perish.” If Jesus gives you eternal life you will never perish. Never! You will not be able to take yourself out of Jesus hand. And you also will not be able to take yourself out of the saving hand of your heavenly father.
And this is why we say then that a true believer will never totally stop believing and trusting in Jesus. Why? Because God keeps him…. how? Through faith! That believer will persevere … he will keep on believing that Jesus is the Christ. If he sins, he will eventually repent. This is the perseverance of the believer. God will keep Him.
ILL: Harry Ironside stated that salvation was like Noah inviting one of the pagans of his day to place his trust in God’s Word and come in to the ark.
He said some view salvation like Noah offering to put a peg on the outside of the ark. … just nail that peg right there on the outside of it …. Noah then says to the pagan … “If you just hang on through the storm, you’ll be saved.” Salvation is not dependent on our holding on to God, but on our being securely held by Christ!
To believe that yes, if you trusted Christ, yes…you’ve repented of your sins, yes…you have eternal life and that you could perish and lose your salvation is to believe God will fail on his promise, he would fail to keep you by his power, he would be unrighteous and take back his gift of faith, and that you could snatch yourself out of the father’s hand.
NO! He will keep his promise and give you an inheritance, he will keep you by his power, he will let you keep his saving faith that he gave you, and he will not allow you or anyone else to snatch out his hand.
And this, God knows, would cause you to lack confidence in the battle and then you would be more likely to fall into sin. A doubtful, unstable soldier will get beaten back in the battle and be more likely to sin.
But God wants you to have victory over temptation, and everyone believer does as well. But not everyone is willing to do it takes to get victory. To be victorious in spiritual battles, you must grow in your understanding that Christ guarantees salvation for those who trust in him. Know Christ in His Word; seek His face everyday.
So, what would it take for you to lose your salvation? Jesus’ statement would have to become untrue and someone would come along and snatch you out of the Father’s all powerful hand.
If anyone tries to convince you that you can lose your salvation has to account for the fact that…
I. God will keep His promise to give you his future inheritance.
II. God keeps you by His power.
III. God gives saving faith
IV. If you are saved, you can’t snatch yourself out of the Father’s hand.
And last very small mountain this morning … you’ve done well…anyone need a breather? You’re ok? Great! Let’s do it … and briefly … Ro. 8. 28-30 … God has already given believer glorified bodies. He already has? Yes! It’s as good as done…
V. God has glorified believers
Last passage we’ll just briefly look at it … Ro. 8:28 …
Romans 8:28–39 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and [now we have the golden unbreakable chain for the believer … ] these whom He predestined [that happened in the past….], He also called [that was past for believers too … it means he got saved … if that truly happens, then what happens? …. ]; and these whom He called, He also justified [happened back there … that’s what happens…what’s next? … ]; and these whom He justified, He also glorified [that’s receiving a perfect, glorified body….that happened in the ….past? It reads like it did. Why is it written that way? Because that too is just as certain… though it’s future from your standpoint … it’s as good as done!; you can’t break this chain. If the calling to salvation happened, if he is justified then he is as good as glorified.]
[RAISE IT UP!!!!]
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect [and it actually hold up in court … No one!]? [Since] God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who [could possibly] condemns? [How could anyone condemn me if ] Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ [No one!]? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No! 36 Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.17. lose salvation
During initial construction on the Golden Gate Bridge, no safety devices were used and 23 men fell to their deaths. For the final part of the project, however, a large net was used as a safety precaution. At least 10 men fell into it and were saved from certain death.
Even more interesting, however, is the fact that 25% more work was accomplished after the net was installed. Why? Because the workers were secure, their lives were not in danger, they knew they were safe, and they were free to wholeheartedly serve in the project.
Christian, if you have savingly trusted Christ, you are saved, safe, and secure. If you have eternal life today, you will never perish …never! Your eternity is secure. If you know this, you’ll be more free to do the work that God has called you to do.
If you know that your salvation is secure and that no one can snatch you out of the Father’s hand or of Jesus’ hand…not even yourself, if you know that nothing will separate you from the love of Christ and that God keeps you by his power by his own means ….
And you know your salvation is secure, you will begin to have more victory over temptations today. This is that helmet of salvation. Your helmet will get stronger, helping you to fight in the battle and to get you the victory in your life that God wants you to have.
You see, everyone wants victory over temptations. Everyone wants to conquer their fears and press on conquer the world that God wants them conquer. But not everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. To be victorious in spiritual battles, you must grow in your understanding that Christ guarantees salvation for those who savingly trust Him.
You could either choose to be lazy and not get to know God and His great promises in His word, or you could apply a little bit of diligence every day and respond to God’s word and respond in praise to God for his great promises for you.
Know him, understand his greatness, study his word, pray, God help you understand what he has done for you in Christ, and then tackle those sins head on and overcome your worry, your fear, family struggles, greed, lust. And watch God do a work in your life.
Take off the spiritual brakes, stop holding back, push yourself, focus on God and His certain promises, and as you do every day you will begin to see a difference in how you live your life…by God’s grace you can be the person God wants you to be; you can achieve what God calls you to achieve, by God’s grace and power and abilities, I have what it takes and nothing can stop me, for God is for me, who can be against me?
623: point out last line. After serving Jesus…
A. W. Pink, Eternal Security, electronic ed. (Escondido, CA: The Ephesians Four Group, 2000), 16. ↑