By Simeon Young
Getting saved is one of the most important things in life. But there is something just as important as being saved, and that is staying saved. Most of the New Testament is dedicated to instructing saved people on how to retain their salvation.
The “great salvation” that Paul wrote to the Hebrew Christians about was not designed to self-destruct when things get tough. God is able to save to the uttermost.
Following are the winning strategies of successful Christians – of men and women and young people who are overcoming Satan and living in victory and walking in obedience.
The first strategy for staying saved is to –
I. Be Serious About Being Saved. If you are prepared to make a commitment to living for God and going to heaven, you are well on your way. But if you cannot make a no-holds-bared commitment to living for God, then you probably are not serious enough about being saved. If you keep having second thoughts about your first-love for the Lord, then you are not serious about life’s most serious issue.
Why is it more difficult for some Christians to make a spiritual commitment than it is for a six-year-old boy to make a life-long commitment to a ball team? Is it because he is more serious about sports than sports than some Christians are about being saved?
No-commitment contracts on certain consumer goods may be available, but there is no such thing as a no-commitment faith or a no-commitment Christianity.
People who are serious about being saved have found contentment in godly living. Their fulfillment comes from their relationship with Jesus. All their needs are satisfied by their loving Lord.
If you’re serious about being saved, you are not looking over your shoulder for something better. Paul said, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy 6:6).
Furthermore, if you take your salvation seriously, you have learned the value of moderation. Some things, taken in any amount, are spiritually disastrous. But almost anything, taken to the extreme or in excess, is detrimental to your salvation. Certain pleasures, in moderation, can be relaxing and even healthy. But an immoderate does of pleasure is potentially poison.
The second spiritual strategy for staying saved is to –
II. Get Moving Spiritually. Consistent spiritual exercise is to a Christian what physical exercise is to an athlete. An athlete cannot survive without exercise and neither can a Christian survive without spiritual calisthenics. Paul wrote, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” He also said that since “bodily exercise profiteth little,” we should exercise ourselves unto godliness.
Successful Christians practice the presence of God… they practice godliness… they practice right living. A spiritually lazy Christian will never make it. He will become soft and flabby and his spiritual muscles will a trophy.
The Bible says that the Spirit of God came upon Samson “at times.” The key to Samson’s downfall is discovered in those two words – “at times.” Once in a while, he lived for God. Occasionally he did the right thing.
Do you occasionally feel surges of spirituality? Do you walk in the Spirit sometimes? I tell you, once-in-awhile surges in the Spirit won’t cut it. A daily relationship with the Lord is imperative.
The third spiritual strategy for staying saved for life is to –
III. Tackle Problems Head-On. The spiritual loose-ends of our lives will entangle us and cause us to stumble. Failing to deal with failure, we fail.
Paul wrote, “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26,27). One translation reads, “Don’t let the devil get a foothold.”
A small spiritual problem unattended becomes a spiritual crisis that can do you in. The little foxes… spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15).
I am not prepared to tell you that one little mistake will send you to hell. But I can say with certainty that every unsettled infraction, every unresolved mistake, and every unconfessed sin allows the devil to get his foot in the door. But you can keep ahead of the devil by confronting and dealing with every problem honestly and forthrightly and quickly. Tackling problems head-on is a winning strategy.
The fourth strategy for staying saved for life is
IV. Don’t Think “Eternal Security.” In other words, get rid of the “once-saved-always-saved” mentality. It is possible to be saved for life, but it is not possible to be automatically saved for life.
It is assumed by millions of religious people that once you are saved, it is impossible to forfeit your salvation. I heard the late Dr. John R. Rice say that there would be holes in the roofs of saloons where drunken “Christians” are raptured off barstools. What a magic deception. What an abominable lie!
Peter wrote, “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall… ” (II Peter 1:10). We can safely infer from the word “if that the failure to do these things” will cause us to fall and block our entrance into heaven.
The sober warning in Scripture against backsliding, lukewarmness, and apostasy is the antithesis to the hyper-Calvinistic doctrine of unconditional eternal security. One of the easiest ways to lose your salvation is to think you cannot lose it. When you think you stand, be careful lest you fall.” If you can’t fall, why be careful about it? If you want to be saved for life, forget eternal security.
Zechariah’s prophecy foretold that Jesus would save us from our enemies so that we would be able to serve God without fear and in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives (Luke 1:67-75).
That’s a promise of permanence… a promise of relationship that will not wear out… a promise of spiritual adventure that will never lose its thrill.
You can be saved for life if you will live saved all your life.
(The above material appeared in a November 1991 issue of Indiana Trumpet.) Christian Information Network