Throughout many centuries of New Testament church history there has been one question that has sparked many fires of contentious debate: Can a Christian lose their salvation?
The You-Can-Lose-Your-Salvation theorists suggest that there is an extreme point that a Christian can reach where they effectually walk away from the Lord in their heart, abandoning their position in salvation. This is not easily accomplished, but is a danger for those who continually sin and show disregard for the warnings and disciplines of God.
The Once-Saved-Always-Saved theorists suggest that a person who calls them self a Christian yet continually sins and shows disregard for the warnings and disciplines of God never was truly saved in the first place.
Both camps have individuals within them that have broad variations to these respective doctrines and theologies. Sadly, each camp tends to misrepresent and exaggerate the other camp’s theological basis in an attempt to make their own doctrine seem more reasonable.
“Naturally, if everyone would just accept my doctrinal stance, then this age-old church squabble could come to a peaceful end and we could all love each other in a more Christ-like manner…” or so every theologian thinks about their own stance.
While it can be good [at times] to debate the finer points of doctrine and theology, it is by far ALWAYS the best avenue to encourage one another in the loving pursuit of God.
So in this context, instead of looking at where exactly the lines may or may not be (and what they may or may not look like) between the “un-redeemed,” the redeemed, and the “de-redeemed,” let’s briefly look at the other end of the spectrum and focus on where the human heart connects with God’s heart.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other…”
~ Matthew 6:24
Jesus went on to apply this broad principle to a specific subject of choosing between God and Money, but the principle applies to anything that we seek that takes us in the opposite direction of God. Our attempts at playing with sin while remaining under grace is a very dangerous game, a game that reveals what our heart truly loves… and it’s not God. Jesus insisted that the object of our desire is singular, and singular only. There is no 50-50% or 80-20%.
Some might ask, “But aren’t we all tempted?” Yes, most certainly each of us are tempted, but temptation is not the sin. The sin is that which we do within our heart and mind (and maybe even then physically participate) to fulfill the temptation. Do we return to that invisible line between the redeemed and un-redeemed so that we can “feel” some of the worldly pleasure without diving headlong into the sin?
This kind of game reveals a tragic condition of the heart’s love. A complete love is completely dedicated to the One Master, Jesus Christ. The question about our sin is this: is our sin the result of our weakness, or the result of our purposeful engagement? If our sin is a result of our weakness [that is still in the process of being built into strength], there is the grace of God that covers our sin:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
~ 1 John 1:9
As we mature in (1) our character, in (2) our knowledge and implementation of God’s word, and in (3) our partnership with the Holy Spirit, there is a point where we can really be free from playing that game with sin and where our love for our One Master, Christ Jesus is evidenced in the consistency of our daily lives. The Apostle Paul referenced this aspect of spiritual maturity when he wrote to the church in Corinth:
“… we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”
~ 2 Corinthians 10:5-6
“Once your obedience is complete” is a reference to their in-progress maturation and growth from living in the weakness of their humanity into living by the power of their Holy Spirit-infused life.
Our salvation through Christ is both instantaneous and progressive. It is instantaneous in that we are immediately positioned with Christ, we are His. He claims us as His own, and we claim Him as our One Master or Lord. It is progressive in that we undergo a process of transformation, a journey with Christ through life where we are undergoing a conformation to His character.
Today as we go about our day, let our love for God be expressed continuously by steering our thoughts toward Him and His ways of doing things, running from every temptation as soon as it presents itself to us in our mind. “Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” This is the kind of life that truly expresses and safeguards it’s love for God, and will avoid the tragic and painful experiences of playing around the line in question: “Can a Christian be De-Redeemed?”
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