Is it possible for you or for me, as born-again Christians, to mess up our salvation with sin?
In short, no.
Just as we did not earn our salvation with works to begin with, so we cannot lose our salvation with works once we have it.
But haven’t we all seen that person who was once on fire for the Lord, was once a role model to many take a turn for the worse and not turn back around? That man who went from music minister to devout atheist, or that woman who went from Bible study leader to living life as she chooses. How can we explain that? One minute they were there, and the next they were gone. Did they sin until God gave up on them?
Likely, the question that follows that one is: Could that happen to me?
What we might have seen are some people who appeared and claimed to have accepted Christ, but in the long run it is revealed that they never had. For some, they may have genuinely thought that they had been born again. However, there was likely a key misunderstanding at the base of their theology. The God that they thought they embraced may not have been the true God of the Bible, but a warped version and nonexistent version of Him.
For you, the believer, here are some key things to remember:
- Order of operations: Faith, then fruit.
- Works are important, and they will appear in the life of the one who has been saved. However, those works are not what saves the person. Their faith in Jesus, trusting in Him and following Him, is what saves them. As a result of that trust, their behaviors and works will begin to change. They will resemble the fruit of the Spirit, and that will be the evidence of their salvation. Sin will continue to crop up here and there, but…
- A life of repentance.
- The believer will live in a posture of repentance; continually turning from their sin to God and pursuing His righteousness. Repentance is deeper than simply sorrow for your failings and the judgment that will come. It is a recognition of God’s goodness, and of the massive contrast between his perfection and our sin. As the believer sees all types of sin in their life, they will repent and turn to the God they have put their trust in.
- The One who saves us is the One who keeps us.
- Upon receiving your salvation, you do receive with it a purpose and responsibility. However, that responsibility is not to maintain your salvation status, but to work it out in fear and trembling in cooperation with the Spirit of the Lord.
Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2-3)
Psalm 121 : 7-8
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Your sin cannot wreck what He has done.