CAN GOD REALLY KEEP YOU SAVED?
2 Tim. 1:12
In this verse, the Apostle Paul makes a bold statement concerning his salvation. He tells us that he is confident that his salvation is eternal in nature. But, is it really? Is salvation something we can count on, or is it something we must simply hope will work out for us in the end? Can a Christian truly have absolute assurance that he or she is saved? And, can the Christian be sure that he or she will never be lost again? Is there anything you or I could do that would cause Jesus to take away our salvation? Is it possible for us to decide that we didn't want to be a Christian anymore and lose it that way? What I am asking is can God really keep you saved?
We Baptists, on the other hand, believe that once salvation has been granted by God, salvation can never be taken away. We hold that once a person has been saved by grace, they are forever saved and nothing will ever be able to change that fact! We believe that man is saved by the exercise of his free will, but that at the moment of salvation, the believer is instantly and eternally changed and adopted in to the family of God. We believe that the believer is declared righteous through justification and that eternal life is a present possession. We hold that it is impossible for a born again one to ever be lost, or to ever go to hell.
Now, who is right? Can salvation be lost as the majority of the church world teaches? Or, is salvation an eternal gift that can never be taken back? I believe that Paul clears up the issue in this verse. Please allow me to take this one verse, as well as some supporting texts, and answer the question, "Can God Really Keep You Saved?" By the way, my answer at the outset is "God Can!" Hopefully, we will all be of the same mind by the conclusion of the message.
I. PAUL'S CONVERSION
A. Involved A Person - Paul says he knows in "Whom" he had believed. When Paul was saved on the way to Damascus, his conversion was the direct result of meeting a person, Acts 9:4-6. Paul was a highly educated man, Acts 22:3, and he was a holy man when his life was compared with the requirements of the Law, Phil. 3:6. But, his salvation could never be earned with such things. It took a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ to bring about Paul's salvation.
B. Involved A Plan - Notice that Paul says that his conversion was the result of "belief." Salvation cannot be worked up or prayed down. It can only be accomplished through simple faith. Notice what the Bible says about the means and manner of salvation - John 3:16; Rom. 6:23; John 3:36. Salvation can only be yours through faith in Jesus Christ.
C. Involved A Permanence - Notice the use of the words "I have believed." In the Greek, this verb is in the Perfect Tense. This means that it is an action that has been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated ever. Paul is saying that when he placed his faith in Jesus Christ, it was a one time for all time action. He says that what was accomplished then was also finished then. Paul knows that his salvation is a permanent thing. It never needs to be redone and will last forever.
(Ill. The same is true for the salvation you and I enjoy through Jesus Christ. When you come to Jesus, the work He does in you is a permanent work. It will never have to be repeated. In fact, it cannot be repeated. If salvation were ever lost, it could never be redone until Jesus came, was virgin born, died on the cross and rose again from the dead, Heb. 6:4-6.)
II. PAUL'S CONFIDENCE
A. Based In The Person Of God - Paul says this, "I know in Whom I have believed." The word know means to "know by personal experience." Paul is telling us that he has the confidence he does in the Lord because he knows the Lord. He has experienced God's power first hand and he knows what God can do.
B. Based In The Power Of God - Next Paul reminds us that God is "able". This word simply means that God has the power to do a thing. Paul tells us that his salvation, and our as well, is based in the power of God. Peter tells us that we are "kept by the power of God", 1 Pet. 1:5. In simple terms, our salvation is only as strong as God's power to keep us saved.
C. Based In The Promises Of God - Paul tells us that he is "persuaded" about God's ability to preserve the soul. Paul's confidence is not a blind leap into the dark, but it is a confidence based squarely upon the precious promises of God. Notice the promises related to salvation that you and I can take to the bank.
1. Salvation is by grace, not works - Eph. 2:8-9.
2. Everlasting means exactly what it says - John 6:47; John 3:16.
3. Everlasting life is a present possession - John 3:36.
4. Salvation is Christ's gift and will never be revoked - John 10:28.
5. Nothing can remove us from His hand - John 10:28-29.
6. The believer is no longer condemned - Rom. 8:1; John 5:24.
7. Sin is not charged to the believer - Rom. 4:5-8.
8. Nothing can separate the believer from the love of God - Rom. 8:38-39.
9. The believer will never be cast out - John 6:37.
10. The believer has been born again and cannot be unborn - John 3:3; 5-7.
11. The believer is called a child of God and the father child relationship is one that cannot be ended - 1 John 3:2.
III. PAUL'S COMMITMENT
A. He Committed His Soul - Paul was trusting Jesus with his eternal soul. I believe that this is the "that" he was speaking of in this verse. So are you and I! We need to be as confident in our salvation as Paul was in his, and we can be if we are willing to take the Lord at His word and accept that fact that He saves and keeps those who come to Him by faith.
B. He Committed His Service - Paul had given his life, after salvation, to doing what the Lord wanted him to do. Paul's total surrender was based in the knowledge that the Lord had saved him with a perfect salvation that would last for all eternity. Such a gift demands such a surrender! (Ill. This is the principle taught in 1 John 4:19.) My friends, we are wasting our time serving the Lord if we are not kept by His power. It is true that His life is the best life, however, as Paul said, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.", 1 Cor. 15:19. On the contrary, we serve and love Him because of that which He has done on our behalf!
C. He Committed His Salvation - As this verse closes, Paul speaks of "that day." He is writing about the day when he must leave this world and face the Lord in judgment. He knows that when that day comes, he had better be found in Christ. For to be found in the flesh and in the substance of the natural man is to invite certain damnation. Paul knew that when "that day" came he would be found in Jesus, regardless of what happened down here in this life, Phil. 3:9.