How do you really know if you are saved? How do you know what to tell someone else who wants to be saved what to do once they pray the prayer? How do you REALLY know? Hmmmm, I am amazed at how we all have the same book and yet clearly cannot come to a clear conclusion as to how one becomes saved and retains that salvation if in fact salvation must be retained and is not a done deal at conversion.
Which leads us to the real question doesn't it? Can salvation be lost?
If it can, how do you lose it?
If it has been lost, how do you get it back?
Matthew 7:21-23 is a real sticking point in the "can you lose your salvation argument". Clearly there are people in this passage that know Jesus and were out there doing things in the name of Jesus and yet Jesus is not letting them into Heaven because they have not done the will of the Father. This passage is an excellent argument that you can in fact be a follower of Jesus but be out of the will of God (i.e., doing our own thing and not serving God actively or getting saved and then never letting the process of salvation have any real effect in our lives and we go on just like the rest of the world and live unchanged) and not be able to enter Heaven. I mean, the whole couple of paragraphs is even entitled A Tree and It's Fruit letting us know if the tree (us) is not producing fruit (worshiping, praying and doing the will of the Father) we ain't gettin in. Or does it?
In the subtitle of the Bible "A Tree and It's Fruit" there are two paragraphs.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+7&version=NIV you can read them here.
The paragraph above Jesus sayin you can't come in even though you know me and did things in my name is a warning against false prophets that bear bad fruit. The come as wolves in sheep's clothing but we will be able to recognize those that distort God's word by their fruit we can recognize their true intentions by their fruit. We can recognize what is in their heart by their fruit. Then after the warning that some will come in His name but not really be of Him, we see Jesus saying that not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven even though they were out and about doing things in His name. No, only those who do the will of the Father.
So, is this bottom paragraph a warning for ALL Christians that if you are out of the will of the Father you lose your salvation? I want to say no. I would think it ridiculous that Jesus would be warning us of false prophets who will come into our lives, give us clear instructions on how we are to recognize them and then immediately segway into "Oh by the way, not only will the false prophets with bad fruit be thrown into the fire but all of you who are out of the will of God will be thrown in with them. AND, he just leaves it at that. This seems very odd to me that this would be the case. No, I personally find the two paragraphs completely related and tied together as in Jesus is still talking about the false prophets/ferocious wolves who would deceive us when he is speaking about those who will say Lord, Lord and try to enter into Heaven and be denied entrance.
Also, in numerous scriptures it says things like those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Or if you believe in your heart and confess with your tongue you will be saved. In all instances and folks, in the New Testament there are lots and lots of places where the salvation process is discussed it says to believe and confess to the Lord that Jesus is God's Son, died for payment of our sins, was sacrifice for ALL, died, rose again and is now in Heaven with God. I have to believe that this event is so important that it is in the Bible so many times for good reason. So, being that the salvation event is so important for us to become saved and set free, wouldn't it be just as equally important to have numerous writings on how to keep ones salvation if one can in fact lose it? I mean, what good would it do for us all to get saved and then just lose it? We are all sinners.....we are all going to poo it up......what if I am being a great little girl and then I have a bad month or two and die in a car wreck? Does 40 years of being saved not count for anything because I didn't go to church for 2 months and was a little depressed maybe? (Just an example). What if I am saved and go through a divorce and get a little nuts for 6 months or so....quit going to church, step out into worldly life for a bit and I die. Am I going to Hell now because I am not serving the Lord, have gone to dance clubs and had sex with my new boyfriend who I am obviously not married to? None of these things are God's will and are clearly sin, does that make me go to Hell now? I think not. I think I would be judged for my actions but my actions do not nullify my salvation.
If you can lose salvation I believe Paul, who was so good at writing out long and clear instructions (I mean look at Romans for pete's sake, it is a long clear cut argument for Christianity with why's and how's) would have addressed this issue long and hard. I believe there would be no question as to how to retain salvation because it would be addressed. What is the point of only telling us how to get salvation only if you can lose it? Wouldn't the Bible give us the various ways we can lose salvation? I think it would be much more clearly addressed.
Which is another kicker..... this is a great reason some of my atheist friends will not believe. They laugh at how us Christians cannot even agree on the salvation event alone much less the rest of the Bible. Well, it makes me mad but they are right. It frustrates me greatly.
I was just wondering what anyone else thought and do your churches teach salvation loss?